Algae Bloom Detected on Hardy Dam Pond in Newaygo County

District Health Department #10 announced Tuesday that an algae bloom has been detected on Hardy Dam Pond in Newaygo County.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) took samples on Aug. 11 and sent those off to the MDHHS lab. Results came back positive for microcystin, an algal toxin released by some types of algae in lakes or rivers. Algae blooms can form when there are high nutrient levels within bodies of water along with warm temperatures.

More testing will take place during the week of Aug 23. MDHHS is notifying homeowners about initial results.

“Algae blooms look like a green mat right on top of the water that smells bad and has a gelatinous texture to them,” stated Tom Reichard, Environmental Health Director for DHD#10. “The algal toxins that are released can be harmful to aquatic life, pets, and humans so it is very important to avoid these areas.”

Below are some steps to take when near waterways:

  • Avoid direct contact with waterways that appear to be scummy or have a green shade to them
  • Do not drink untreated surface water
  • Obey posted signate for public health advisories and/or beach closings
  • Limit or avoid eating fish from algal bloom impacted areas

Contact with algae blooms can cause minor illness in humans but can be fatal to pets. Therefore, it is also recommended that people keep their pets out of the water that shows any signs of algae blooms.

People and pets can experience the following symptoms after exposure to algae blooms:

  • Rash, hives, or skin blisters at skin contact site
  • Runny eyes and/or nose, sore throat, asthma-like symptoms, or allergic reactions
  • Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, weakness, tingly fingers, numbness, dizziness, difficulty breathing, or even death resulting from ingesting contaminated water

If you think you have been exposed to algae blooms, take the following precautions:

  • Immediately remove yourself and/or your pet from the area
  • Take a shower and thoroughly rinse off pets with clean, fresh water if they swam in an area with algae blooms to avoid potential toxic ingestion from licking
  • Seek medical treatment for yourself and/or veterinary treatment for your pet as soon as possible if you think you or your pet may have been exposed to or ingested algal toxins