Pond Algae Safety: Summer

Mick RibaultInvasive & Nuisance Vegetation Control, Pond Management

Photograph of pond with cyanobacteria present.

Pond algae safety is especially important in the summer when the risk for harmful algal blooms increases and people are spending more time outdoors.

Cory Rogers- Charleston Client Service Manager, Certified Master Pond Manager

Photograph of pond with cyanobacteria present.
Pond Algae Safety: Cyanobacteria is present in this pond. Look closely to see the path of the bird cutting through the cyanobacteria.

Warm summer temperatures bring increased risk of harmful algal blooms (HABs) in lakes and ponds. This can be especially true for stormwater systems. Cyanobacteria can cause algal blooms that produce harmful toxins. These toxins can be harmful to the environment, wildlife, and to people and pets spending time in or around the water.

While people should never swim in stormwater ponds, many apartment communities and HOA’s contain stormwater systems that people and pets walk around. HABs can produce neurotoxins that can potentially impact people and pets by simply inhaling. Not all blooms are harmful; however, it is impossible to know without testing. Due to this, it is important to take pond algae safety steps to keep yourself, loved ones, and pets healthy!

What to look for:

  • Water that appears discolored
  • Foul smelling water
  • Paint-like streaks in the water
  • Mats, foam, or scum
  • Presence of dead fish or other deceased wildlife
Pond algae safety: photograph of a pond with an algal bloom.
Pond Algae Safety: Example of discoloration and paint-like streaks.
Photograph of a harmful algal bloom turning the water a reddish color.
Example of cyanobacteria turning the water a reddish color.

Pond Algae Safety From the EPA:

Summer algae pond safety tips from the EPA.

“Look Out For Harmful Algal Blooms.” Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, May 2019, https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2019-05/documents/habs-infographic-detailed-2019.pdf .

Pond Algae Safety: In Case of Exposure

Shower and seek medical attention if any symptoms appear in people or pets.

How Can You Help Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms?

Humans and pollution are the major causes of algal blooms. Here are four easy ways you can help!

  1. Do not over-fertilize. Get a soil test to identify the specific fertilizer and amounts required.
  2. Eliminate or at least limit use of pesticides.
  3. Maintain your septic system.
  4. Dispose of pet waste properly.

Follow these pond algae safety guidelines to stay safe and healthy this summer!

Our invasive and nuisance vegetation experts are here to help with your algae problems. Please contact us to learn how we can restore and maintain your beautiful space.

We provide pond maintenance, stormwater management, and more in Charleston, South Carolina, Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Wilmington, North Carolina, Tampa, Naples, Fort Myers, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia.

Learn More

Learn how to prevent fish kills due to dissolved oxygen depletion, which is an increased risk in summer.

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More recommendations from the EPA. The general public can report harmful algal bloom events and illnesses to local or state health departments. State contact information can be found here.