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Blue Green Algae Alert
Thursday 2nd June, 2011

Blue-green algae has been discovered in Scotman’s Flash in Wigan and in small quantities at Pennington Flash in Leigh, for the first time this year.

Notices are in place around the popular beauty spot warning members of the public not to swim in Pennington Flash. Signs are being placed around Scotman’s and officers are briefing the sailing club on the situation.

Council and Leisure Trust officers are alerting the Environment Agency, who advise that quantities of algae can pose a potential hazard to human and animal health.

Blue-green algae is found naturally in many inland waterways, and in lakes and ponds the warmer weather is ideal for its growth. The algae rises to the surface of the water as a scum and looks like blue-green paint.

llnesses — including eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, skin rashes, muscular pains and fever — have occurred in people who have swallowed or been swimming in infected water. The algae can be particularly harmful to animals.

Environmental health chiefs say levels of the algae fluctuate. It can appear one day, disperse in the wind the next, but come back at any time. This pattern is peculiar to the weather conditions and the time of year, but the algae will disperse naturally when cooler weather sets in.

Peter Alker, parks officer in Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, said: “The flashes are popular places, but contact with the algae should be avoided. People should also keep their pets well away from it.”

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