RIDOH: Advisories remain in place for Tarkiln Pond

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BURRILLVILLE – With the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management stocking other ponds across the state with trout in advance of Columbus Day Weekend, warnings remain in place regarding a potentially dangerous algae bloom at a popular Burrillville fishing spot.

Health officials issued an advisory in early September noting the Tarkiln Pond had a blue/green algae bloom. The 14-acre pond just off of Douglas Pike sits on the border of Burrillville and North Smithfield.

In a press release from the Rhode Island Department of Health issued in late September, the agency lifted the advisory over high levels of blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, for Georgiaville Pond in Smithfield.

But an advisory remains in place for Tarkiln Pond, along with several other bodies of water across the state. They include: Spectacle Pond and Blackamore Pond in Cranston; Central Pond, Ten Mile River and Omega Pond in East Providence; Almy Pond in Newport; Melville Ponds and Sisson Pond in Portsmouth; Mashapaug Pond in Providence, as well as several ponds at Roger Williams Park: Roosevelt, Willow, Edgewood, and Pleasure Lakes and Japanese Gardens; Turner Reservoir in Rumford; and Slack Reservoir in Smithfield.

RIDOH says all recreation, such as swimming, fishing and boating, should continue to be avoided at the affected ponds.

Blue-green algae can produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals.

Contact with water containing blue-green algae can cause irritation of the skin, nose, eyes, and/or throat. If water containing algal toxins is ingested, health effects can include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. Young children and pets are at greater risk than adults, due to their size and because they are more likely to drink contaminated water. Other health effects, which are rarer, include dizziness, headache, fever, liver damage, and nervous system damage. People who have been swimming in, or have otherwise been in contact with these ponds, who experience symptoms, should contact their healthcare providers.

Anyone who comes into contact with water that is under an advisory should rinse their skin with clean water as soon as possible, bathe, and wash their clothes. If a pet comes in contact with this water, the pet should be washed with clean water. Do not let the animal lick algae off of its fur. Call a veterinarian if the pet shows any symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning, which include loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a few days of contact with the water.

Health officials warn that it is possible that blue-green algae blooms may be affecting other waterbodies in Rhode Island. The public should avoid contact with any body of water that is bright green or has a dense, floating algal mat on the water’s surface. Blue-green algae blooms may look like green paint or thick pea soup.

Toxins may persist in the water after the blue-green algae bloom is no longer visible.

Officials from RIDOH and the Department of Environmental Management continue to monitor Tarkiln and other affected ponds across the state.

To report suspected blue-green algae blooms, contact RIDEM’s Office of Water Resources at 222-4700 or DEM.OWRCyano@dem.ri.gov

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