20th Jul, 2019

Warnings of harmful algae in Barnt Green's Upper and Lower Bittell Reservoirs

VISITORS to the Upper and Lower Bittell Reservoirs in Barnt Green have been warned to be careful of the blue-green algae there which can be harmful to the skin.

The warning comes for The Canal and River Trust amidst a ‘bloom’ of the algae which traditionally happens over the summer.

The allergic reaction can cause irritation of the skin and hay fever type symptoms.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the toxicity of the algae, the Trust is encouraging visitors to the reservoirs, their children and pets to be cautious around the water. Warning signs have been placed around the affected areas.

Blue-green algae occur naturally in many inland freshwaters. Occasionally, blue-green algae ‘blooms’, colouring the water green, blue-green or greenish brown and sometimes causing paint-like or jelly-like scums.

The Trust, which is responsible for the reservoirs and the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, is currently busy monitoring the algae levels and deciding on the most effective way of dealing with it.

Rob Eaton, Canal & River Trust customer operation manager, said: “Bittell Reservoir is a really popular spot.

“We want people to continue to enjoy the lovely waterside setting, but just be aware that there’s a current outbreak of blue-green algae in the water.

“It will ultimately die off naturally, but we will take measures in the meantime if we feel it was posing issues for fish and other wildlife.

“We’re asking people to be extra careful and if they or their pets come into contact with the affected water, they should wash all exposed skin with clean water as soon as possible, and particularly before eating or drinking.”

He added if anyone was concerned after coming into contact with the algae they should seek medical advice.

Visit canalrivertrust.org.uk for more information.

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