Orkney Islands Council is advising people to be on the lookout for blooms of blue-green algae in lochs, burns and other watercourses.
OIC’s environmental health team will be placing a warning notice in the carpark at Kirbister Loch, after reports that algal blooms have been seen in the waters there.
The toxins associated with blooms of this kind can cause human health problems including skin rashes and eye irritation – and can cause serious problems for dogs if they are swimming in and drinking affected water. Fish caught in waters affected by blue-green algae should not be eaten and should not be fed to pets.
Farmers are also advised to keep their animals away from a water source that is affected by a blue-green algal bloom, as livestock can be adversely affected.
Blue-green algae occur naturally in lochs, ponds, burns and the sea. In the right conditions, these can form blooms which can release toxins into the water, especially at this time of the year.
Although they’re called blue-green algae, these can be khaki, dark blue, black or red in colour when they form dense mats in the water.
The council is advising the public, especially dog owners, to be alert for blooms over the summer months. People and their pets should avoid coming into contact with water that could be affected.