Blue-green algae means no fishing in Neoga pond

The City of Neoga has banned fishing at the pond, which is located at the south end of Industrial Avenue. The ban is in effect until further notice. Dawn Schabbing photo

A pond in Neoga located at the south end of Industrial Avenue has signs posted banning all fishing due to blue-green algae.

According to Brenda Evans, City Clerk for the Village of Neoga, the algae was discovered by city employees that were mowing and checking water lines in the area last week.

According to Kim Biggs, Public Information officer for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, the algae has not been confirmed by lab tests but through a phone conversation with the village the description of the algae sounded like that of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

According to the IEPA website, cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms that naturally occur in Illinois lakes and streams. Blue-green algae can reproduce very quickly in warm, shallow, undisturbed-surface water that receives a lot of sunlight.

According to the IEPA website, blue-green algal blooms can look like blue or green paint spilled in the water, thick puffy blue or green foam on the surface of the water or swirling colors beneath the surface of the water. Odors of the blooms have been described as grassy, fishy or having a septic odor.

When there is a rapid growth of algae it can produce a bloom. According to Biggs, when a bloom is created it can create toxic chemicals.

When a person or animal is exposed to algal toxins it can result in vomiting, diarrhea, rash or hives or if inhaled can cause coughing or wheezing. She said that the most vulnerable to developing symptoms are children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Biggs said one of the reasons that fishing has been banned in the pond is if someone were to fish while pulling the fish out of the water they could expose themselves to algal bloom and toxins in the water.

She said that if a person comes into contact with the algae they should wash the affected area and if showing symptoms contact poison control or a local health professional.

If your pet has come into contact with the algae you should contact your veterinarian.

Crystal Reed can be reached at crystal.redd@effinghamdailynews.com

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