Bad algae still infests Portsmouth's St. Mary's Pond

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PORTSMOUTH — State health officials advise individuals to avoid contact with untreated waters from St. Mary's Pond in Portsmouth. The pond has experienced a continued algal bloom that may form naturally occurring algal toxins.

Treated tap water originating from the pond is safe to touch and consume. Existing restrictions prohibit recreational activities such as swimming and boating. People should not eat fish from this body of water.

Pets can also be affected by exposure to the algal toxins and should not be allowed to drink this water or swim in it.

This blue-green algae, known as cyanobacteria, has the potential to form the naturally occurring toxins known as Microcystin and Anatoxin. Although no toxins have been found at this time, it is important that the public avoid contact with untreated waters.

The toxins can cause skin rashes and irritation of the nose, eyes, and/or throat . If water containing algal toxins is ingested, health effects include stomach ache, diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.