WESTFORD — The Health Department is encouraging residents to take caution at Nabnasset Lake at Edward’s Mary Lou and North Beaches from signs of an algae bloom.
Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, occurs naturally in fresh water. Under specific conditions such as warm weather, excess nutrients and sunlight, bacteria can multiply quickly, creating a highly concentrated area, known as a “bloom.” The bacteria can also cause water to appear slightly discolored, cloudy, or resemble paint while emitting an unpleasant odor.
When cyanobacteria cells die, they release cyanotoxins, which can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested.
Ingesting cyanotoxins can potentially cause gastrointestinal and neurological damage if ingested. If inhaled, toxins can cause asthma-like symptoms. In Massachusetts alone, these blooms have caused 389 cases of human illness between 2016 and 2018, according to Bureau of Environmental Health data.
The Department of Public Health recommends families and their pets wash themselves with tap or bottled water if contact occurs. If water is ingested by a family member or pet, DPH recommends contacting a physician or veterinarian.
The Health Department noted that the lake is scheduled to be treated on Monday, July 18. The department recommends swimmers and their pets to exercise caution. All beaches will be closed during treatment.
Local journalism is vital to our communities. As other publications shift focus toward regional journalism, WestfordCAT continues to provide high-quality hyperlocal reporting to our town, free for everyone to read. So — we have a small favor to ask. Every contribution, no matter how big or small, helps us sustain our journalism and keep our community informed. Please consider supporting WestfordCAT for as little as $1 on PayPal.