Public Information on Blue Green Algae

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					Communications Department                Hayfield House
                                         Fife KY5 2AH

                                         Date: 28 March 2006
                                         Enquiries to: Clare Paterson
                                         Telephone: 01592 643355 Ext. 8474
                                         Fax: 01592 648132
                                         Internal Fax: 8132

                 Public Information on Blue Green Algae

In preparation for the warmer weather the public are being reminded to comply with any
warning notices which may appear at inland waters where blue-green algae (also known as
cyanobacteria) have been found.

Blue-green algae are minute plants which occur naturally in lochs, ponds, reservoirs, rivers
and in the sea and can make people ill and can kill pets and farm animals.

In still waters the algae can multiply during the summer months to such an extent that they
discolour the water making it appear green, blue-green or greenish brown. Sometimes a
scum may form on the surface. This scum can appear in different places at different times,
but is most commonly found at the water’s edge or shoreline.

Effects on people coming into contact with toxic scum include skin rashes, eye irritations,
vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and pains in muscles and joints. Toxic algae have caused
deaths of livestock and dogs.

Scottish Water regularly monitor for the presence of blue-green algae species and always
take a precautionary approach to ensure drinking water remains safe. The treatment of
water for public consumption removes blue-green algae and additional treatment may be
applied to destroy or remove toxins should they arise.
Where algal blooms are found to be growing and could pose a risk to the public or animals,
notices are posted next to the water warning the public that contact with the algal scum
should be avoided. Landowners and fishing interests are advised of the situation and
farmers and pet-owners are advised to ensure that their animals do not have access to
affected water.

For further information contact Environmental Services Fife Council

Central Fife 01592 417724

West Fife 01383 313850

East Fife 01334 412720

Alternatively further information can be obtained on: