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
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: