A warning has gone out to the public over the potential for blue-green algae in lakes and waterways across the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council area.
People are being asked to be “mindful of the signs” and exercise precautionary measures.
Blue-green algae are tiny organisms that can multiply in still waters and along its edges during times of warm weather, discolouring the water so that it appears green, blue-green or greenish brown.
Some, but not all blue-green algae, produce toxins, which can release into the water and may produce toxins that cause illness such as skin irritation, liver damage and nervous system damage.
Lord Mayor Margaret Tinsley said: “This current spell of sunny weather acts as a timely reminder for those who visit council lakes and waterways – either to walk their dog or fish – to be aware of the dangers of blue-green algae.
“Similar to the majority of freshwater bodies throughout Northern Ireland, blue-green algae are naturally present for most of the year in many council-owned waterways.
“And while the warmer, calmer weather can result in the formation of algal blooms, I would like to reassure residents that council monitors and manages its lakes to reduce the likelihood of algal blooms, and also puts in place advisory signage where appropriate.
“Council officers routinely inspect the water quality of the lakes, particularly in areas where council watersports activities are undertaken; and in these locations staff carryout daily risk assessments throughout the summer months, and where required take all necessary measures to ensure public safety.
“Nonetheless, it’s important to stress that everyone should be aware of the general dangers of blue-green algae, and remain vigilant.”
Should water users suspect blue-green algae to be present, they should avoid skin contact with the water and the algae scum; keep animals and livestock away from the water; do not eat fish from the lake that appear unwell, and do not drink the water.
Report any concerns regarding blue-green algae at council owned waters to email@example.com.