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State issues cyanobacteria warning for Locke Lake

June 11, 2009
BARNSTEAD — An elevated cyanobacteria cell concentration has been measured in Locke Lake. Samples revealed that more than 50 percent of the total cells from the bloom were identified as cyanobacteria anabaena circinalis, exceeding acceptable state standards.

As a result of their findings, the Department of Environmental Services (DES) has issued a cyanobacteria warning for those who recreate on Locke Lake. Please note that this warning is not based on a toxin evaluation, and is intended simply as a precautionary measure against short-term exposure.

DES advises lake users to avoid contact with the water in areas experiencing elevated cyanobacteria cell conditions — typically where lake water has a surface scum or blue-green flecks.

DES also advises pet owners to keep their pets out of any waters that have a surface scum or blue-green or bright green flecks.

Lake users should be on the lookout for cyanobacteria surface scums. Recent sightings report congregations of the blue-green scum around the edges of the lake.

DES routinely monitors public beaches and public waterways throughout the state for cyanobacteria. The agency also monitors public waters for which it has issued cyanobacteria warnings on a weekly basis until the acceptable standards have once again been met.

Cyanobacteria are neutral components of water bodies worldwide, but blooms and surface scums may form when excess phosphorous is added to the water. Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that are stored within the cells, but released upon cell death which can cause both acute and chronic health effects ranging in severity from skin and mucous membrane irritations to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, to liver and central nervous system damage among humans and animals.

The June 11 warning issued for Locke Lake will remain in effect until additional samples reveal that cyanobactera levels have diminished.

Visit the DES Beach Program Web site at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/water/wmb/beaches/index.htm for photos and more information about cyanobacteria.

Updates on advisories and warnings can be obtained at http://www2.des.state.nh.us/Advisories/Beaches/.

If you notice anything resembling cyanobacteria, please refrain from wading in, swimming in, or drinking the water nearby. Keep pets out of the water and contact DES immediately at (603) 419-9229.

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