Warning issued after lethal algae found at Duncan’s Dam

A lethal algae which can be fatal to dogs and cause serious illness in humans has been located in Duncan’s Dam in Lisburn.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 1:02 pm

Environmental Officers have called for people to be vigilant to the blooms, warning against fishing, swimming and refraining from using any type of watercraft in the water.

Blue-green algae or cyanobacteria – a type of blooming algae – can produce toxins harmful to both humans and animals.

The blooms may appear as green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of water.

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said that they had contacted NI Water to further investigate the water.

Alliance Councillor Sorcha Eastwood said the news was concerning and called for the authorities to treat the issue to ensure the protection of all wildlife in the dam.

She added: “It’s concerning to see potential blue algae bloom which is very dangerous for animals. There are also newly hatched ducklings at the lake at Duncan’s dam, if this turns out to be a dye or anything similar, it could be harmful to wildlife.”

The Northern Ireland Environmental Agency (NIEA) said that Duncan’s Dam was “not part of the Department’s Public Angling Estate” and that was for the owners of the estate to ‘investigate the report of the algae presence’. 

Meanwhile, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is urging pet owners to take extra precautions when walking their dogs in the vicinity of waters.

BVA President, James Russell said: “We know that some dogs really enjoy a paddle in a cool lake while on a walk, but we’d urge pet owners to keep their dog on a lead during walks near water confirmed to have toxic algal blooms.

“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so prompt veterinary treatment is the only way to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for your pet.”