Greenfield Lake sees rise in toxic blue-green algae known to make people and animals sick

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A blue-green algae bloom at Greenfield Lake has officials and residents concerned about the safety of people and their pets.

Jennifer Dandron with the city of Wilmington says the algae has been a growing issue in many spots around the area due to the region’s combination of prime ingredients.

“The climate in Wilmington mixed with the storm water runoff that is untreated and goes into these bodies of water contribute to the algae bloom,” Dandron said. “So just be on the lookout whether you’re at greenfield lake or other creeks or lakes or rivers throughout Wilmington.”

Dandron says people are expressing their worry and frustration about the the algae, and says Wilmington is working hard to find a fix.

“They want to use the lake,” Dandron added. “They want to take their dogs out for a swim. We hear that. The city is working with UNCW and NC State on pilot projects to help avoid this issues.”

In the meantime, Dandron is advising people to stay out of the water altogether. But if you or your pet are exposed to the algae, Dandron says there are steps you need to take.

“If you do come in contact, whether it’s a skin exposure or you inhale or ingest it, shower immediately,” Dandron said. “Visit your doctor or vet if you start showing symptoms.”

Dandron points out the solution to the algae problem isn’t simple, and will likely involve everyone working together.

“It’s not something the city can do alone,” Dandron said. “We’re asking the residents and the visitors of Wilmington to do their part to help us keep Greenfield Lake open and safe. And to keep Wilmington safe.”

Dandron says while no sickness or deaths have been reported from the algae, dogs and livestock have died from exposure at other bodies of water in the past.

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