The public is being urged to stay away from a number of park lakes in Liverpool amid concerns that a harmful toxin is spreading from a blue-green algae bloom caused by the recent heatwave.
Liverpool City Council has ordered the banning of swimming, fishing and boating at lakes in Sefton Park and Walton Hall Park whilst tests are carried out.
The toxin can cause vomiting in humans and prove life-threatening to animals and the council is warning dog walkers not to allow their pets to get near the water.
Tests will be carried out by an independent laboratory and the council will seek guidance from the Environment Agency. The lakes will remain closed until the results are known.
If the results are negative, the precautionary lake ban will be immediately lifted but if the toxin test is positive it is anticipated it will take a month for the lakes to be treated and given a clean bill of health.
Blue-Green algae blooms are not uncommon in summer, especially during a warm-weather spell as recently experienced. The parks themselves will remain open to the public.
Councillor Sharon Connor, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Highways, said: “Although the presence of a toxin has not been confirmed at this stage we realise that Blue-Green algae can cause a health risk, particularly to young children and animals.
“Until the test results come back on the water samples in these lakes we have no other option than to stop all activity.
“These type of algae blooms are not unusual in warm weather and a number of steps are being taken to aerate the lakes to prevent it spreading.
“Despite the ban on these lakes our beautiful parks remain open for people to enjoy and we have been encouraging their use all summer to help people get exercise as safely as they can whilst observing Covid-19 safety guidelines.”