State Issues Cyanobacteria Warning For Province Lake

A photo of cyanobacteria containing scum. ~ Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

EFFINGHAM, NH – State officials have released a cyanobacteria advisory for an Effingham Lake. Wednesday the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services said a cyanobacteria bloom has surfaced in Province Lake, and that based on visual evidence, the cyanobacteria bloom is accumulating along shorelines and is concentrated throughout the water column in deeper parts of the lake.  As a result, NHDES issued a cyanobacteria beach advisory and lake warning.

Officials said that the warning is not based on a toxin evaluation and is intended as a precautionary measure for short term exposure. NHDES advises lake users to avoid contact with the water in areas experiencing elevated cyanobacteria cell conditions typically where lake water has a surface scum, green streaks or blue-green flecks aggregating along the shore. NHDES also advises pet owners to keep their pets out of any waters that have a cyanobacteria bloom.

NHDES routinely monitors public beaches and public waters of the state for cyanobacteria. Once a cyanobacteria lake warning or beach advisory has been issued, NHDES returns to affected waterbodies on a weekly basis until the cyanobacteria standards are again met.

Cyanobacteria are natural components of water bodies, but blooms and surface scums may form when excess nutrients are available to the water. Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that are stored within the cells but released upon cell death.

Contact with these toxins can cause both acute and chronic health effects that range in severity.  Acute health effects include irritation of skin and mucous membranes, tingling, numbness, nausea, vomiting, seizures and diarrhea. Chronic effects include liver and central nervous system damage.

The warning remains in effect until bacteria levels have decreased.