Warning to dog owners after toxic algae in Herrington Country Park causes around 200 fish to die

Sunderland City Council have issued a warning to dog owners to keep their pets away from the lake at Herrington Country Park until further notice.

By Ryan Smith
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 5:12 pm

The warning comes as a blue-green algae has been discovered in the water at Herrington Country Park that poses health risks to both humans and animals.

It is understood that the health risks to humans are reportedly small however it could cause serious harm to animals should they swim in or drink the affected water.

Following the discovery, Sunderland City Council have now put warning signs around the lake in the park to warn members of the public to keep their pets away from the water.

A toxic blue-green algae has formed on the lake at Herrington Country Park.

The signs read: “Caution toxic algae may be present. Lake may be unsafe for people and pets.”

Photos sent to the Echo by Garry Wallace show the extent of the toxic algae that has killed an estimated 200 fish at the Herrington Country Park lake.

It is understood that the blue-green algae is a naturally occurring environmental phenomenon that forms blooms and scums in freshwater during the warmer summer months.

The Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and the council's Cabinet Member for environmental matters, Councillor Claire Rowntree, has commented that the warning will be in place at the park until further notice.

Sunderland City Council have said the warning surrounding the algae will remain in place until further notice. Photo: Garry Wallace.

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Cllr Rowntree said: “This blue-green algae poses risks to both public and animal health when it forms blooms and scums in freshwater during warmer summer months.

“We have posted up warning signs about the bloom and the public should please keep themselves and their dogs away from the lake until further notice."

The Environment Agency have confirmed that they have launched an investigation into the algae outbreak.

Around 200 fish are estimated to have died following the bloom of the algae. Photo: Garry Wallace.

A spokesperson commented: “The Environment agency is investigating reports of approximately 200 dead fish found at Herrington Country Park in Sunderland. Officers believe the deaths were caused by a blue-green algal bloom, which reduces oxygen levels in the water.

“The landowner, Sunderland City Council, has erected warning signs to warn people of the dangers of drinking or swimming in the water, especially to dogs.

“Blue Green Algae is a naturally occurring environmental phenomenon that becomes more likely during periods of warm, settled, dry weather.

“We ask the public to report any sightings of dead fish or fish in distress to our incident hotline on 0800 80 70 60.”

Dog owners are warned to keep their pets away from the water after the discovery of toxic algae.

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The natural algae forms during the warmer summer months. Photo: Garry Wallace.