WARNING signs have been erected at Sandy Water Park within Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park warning of blue-green algae.
Algal growth can be encouraged by sunlight spells of hot weather and may be contributed to by pollution from nearby houses. It has occurred before at Sandy Water Park in 2011 and 2006 after spells of really hot weather.
Carmarthenshire council is warning members of the public to avoid coming into contact with water while signs are in place warning of the possibility of algal contamination.
Health officers and rangers have erected an additional temporary signs around the lake to warn of the dangers.
The lake is not used for recreational sports but dogs are frequently allowed by dog walkers to retrieve toys and sticks thrown into the lake. Any pets swimming at the lake could be at risk.
Environment Agency Wales confirmed the algal presence testing this week and will continue to monitor the situation until the all clear is given.
The bloom is likely to be a temporary hazard because the algae is broken down by fluctuating temperatures, winds and rain.
EAW will continue to monitor the situation and review the sample results obtained. The all clear will be given when two consecutive negative tests are recorded.
None of the other nine MCP lakes have been affected between Bynea and Burry Port nor the body of water at Llanelli’s North Dock.
County executive board member for environment, public health, Cllr Philip Hughes said: “The build-up of blue green algae is a natural occurrence which happens from time to time during warm conditions.
“It can be exacerbated by nutrients from chemicals in domestic appliance waste like washing machines and dishwashers. In the past households from Sandy Water Park, where there are more than 200 homes lakeside were being visited to see if any such appliances were tapped into rain water drainage which feeds into the lake.”
The blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) occur naturally in inland waters, estuaries and seas and cannot be removed or treated.
Public Health Wales advises the algae can produce toxins which can cause skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever and headache if swallowed.
Sandy Water Park visitors are advised to take the following precautions: not to swim in the water; not to swallow the water; to avoid contact with the algae; not to eat fish caught in the water; not to allow pets or livestock to come into contact with the water and to observe and abide by notices positioned around the lakes.
If you have any health concerns, please contact your GP or NHS Direct Wales’ on 0845 4647.
* To report any further signs of blue green algae call Environment Agency Wales 24 hour hotline on 0800 807060.
Photo credit: Robert Lloyd