PEOPLE are still being warned to keep away from Apex Park Lake in Burnham-on-Sea until tests are done on potentially toxic algae.

Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, was recently discovered in the water and can be fatal to wild animals, livestock and pets.

Sedgemoor District Council issued a warning on July 23 to warn of the threat blooming algae can have.

A council spokesman said: “We still have the warning signs up.  We are waiting for the Environment Agency to test the water to see the levels. 

“It is a natural phenomenon, caused by heat, and therefore cannot be removed.”

What is blue-green algae?

  • Algae occur naturally in inland waters such as rivers, streams and lakes. When conditions are ideal for growth (i.e. a period of hot weather) an algal bloom can occur. During a bloom, the water becomes less clear and may look green, blue-green or greenish-brown. Scums can form during calm weather when several bloom forming species rise to the surface. This can look like paint, mousse or small clumps.
  • Cyanobacteria or ‘blue-green algae’, a type of blooming algae, can produce toxins. These toxins can kill wild animals, livestock and pets. They can also harm people, producing rashes after skin contact and illnesses if swallowed.
  • Algal blooms block sunlight from reaching other plants in the water. They also use up oxygen in the water at night which can suffocate fish and other creatures. Oxygen is also used up when the bloom decays.
  • The blooms usually occur in the summer but there are no quick or easy remedies for the control of blue-green algae once they appear in a lake or pond.

Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic but it is not possible to tell from appearance and so it’s best to assume they are harmful and take the following precautions:

  • Do not swim in the water
  • Do not let dogs in the water or let them drink it
  • Do not swallow the water
  • Avoid contact with the algae
  • Do not eat fish caught from the water
  • Observe and abide by any warning notices positioned around the water