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Safety in the hills

Blue-green algae

Please be aware that there is the potential for blue-green algae blooms in reservoirs after and during any warm weather.

Blue-green algae (cyanotoxin) blooms can produce toxins that are harmful to dogs and humans. In humans it can cause a rash after skin contact or illness if swallowed. In dogs it can be fatal, and dog owners should keep their dog out of affected waters. Please do not contact us asking if blue-green algae is present in a particular reservoir: we do not monitor regularly for blue-green algae blooms, so urge everyone to err on the side of caution and do a visual check of the water before entering or allowing your pet in.

The bloom can appear as a blue-green scum on the surface of the water, sometimes resembling pea soup. It is naturally occurring, and some (but not all) species release dangerous toxins into the water. There’s no way of telling which algae is toxic just by looking at it; some types are safe while others are only toxic at certain times of year when they’re blooming. Therefore, exercise caution if you suspect a bloom is present.

If you believe you have seen blue-green algae and there are no warning signs present, you can contact the relevant environmental health team for the local authority the reservoir is in. You can also contact SEPA.