Publication - Advice and guidance

Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) in Inland and Inshore Waters: Assessment and Minimisation of Risks to Public Health

Published: 12 Apr 2012
Part of:
Health and social care
ISBN:
9781780456775

Guidance to Directors of Public

Health, to Heads of Environmental Health in Local Authorities (LAs), and to others in

Scotland, on possible risks to public health of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) in inland

and inshore waters. It updates previous guidance under the same title that was published

by the Scottish Government Health Directorate previously in 2002, and revised in 2007.

Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae) in Inland and Inshore Waters: Assessment and Minimisation of Risks to Public Health
ANNEX I

ANNEX I

MEDIA BRIEFING NOTES

I1 Algal Bloom Initial Release on Discovery

<Day,Month,Year>

<Time>

For Immediate Release

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE

Recent samples taken at <name of waterbody> have indicated the presence of blue-green algae. As a precautionary measure, notices have been posted next to the waterbody, warning that contact with the algal scum or mat material should be avoided. [If a bathing water: - Information, including on-site notices, have been provided to the public that bathing is inadvisable at this time.]

Adjoining landowners and fishing interests have been advised of the situation as have the Environmental Health Department of <Council>, <the SEPA office> and <NHS Board>.

At this stage there is no adverse effect on water supplies.

Media Briefing Note:

  • Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) exist in fresh waters in Great Britain and throughout the world; they are noticed when their concentrations increase to form "blooms" and when they form scums - looking like blue-green paint - or when they collect on the shore line as scums or mats.
  • Some blue-green algae may give rise to adverse medical effects - but not always. Effects on people coming into contact with toxic scums include skin rashes, eye irritations, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and pains in muscles and joints. Toxic algae have caused deaths of livestock and dogs, waterbirds and fish. The treatment of water supplies removes blue-green algae and additional treatment may be applied to destroy or remove toxins should they arise. The actions currently taken are precautionary.
  • The behaviour of algae is erratic.
  • The level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and mixing and re-accumulate at any time.

Ends

Press Contact: Corporate Communications, tel :<<number>>

I2 Algal Bloom if Toxicity has been established

<Day,Month,Year>

<Time>

For Immediate Release

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE

Further tests carried out by <agency> have shown that the blue-green algal bloom at <name of water body> has become active. <<The reservoir is not being used for water supply. Alternative sources are being used>> // <<Additional treatment methods have been employed at <treatment works> to ensure our customers are not affected.>> Daily monitoring of the supply is being carried out.

<Council> Environmental Health Department and <NHS Board> have been advised. Adjoining landowners have also been advised, and fishing and boating has been stopped as a precautionary measure. Members of the public have been advised to stay away from the reservoir.

Media Briefing Note:

  • Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) exist in fresh waters in Great Britain and throughout the world; they are noticed when their concentrations increase to form "blooms" and when they form scums - looking like blue-green paint - or when they collect on the shore line.
  • Some blue-green algae may give rise to adverse medical effects - but not always. Effects on people coming into contact with toxic scums include skin rashes, eye irritations, vomiting and diarrhoea, fever and pains in muscles and joints. Toxic algae have caused deaths of livestock and dogs. The treatment of water supplies removes blue-green algae and additional treatment may be applied to destroy or remove toxins should they arise. The actions currently taken are precautionary.
  • The behaviour of algae is erratic.
  • The level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and mixing and re-accumulate at any time.

Ends

Press Contact: Corporate Communications, tel :<<number>>


Contact

Email: Janet Sneddon