As summer approaches and fun trips are planned to the swimming areas in and around Lebanon, it is important to stay safe. So, before you or your pets jump in for a swim this summer, remember to do a quick check for anything unusual.
Before wading, stepping, or swimming in the water, take a look and see if you notice any signs of discoloration or weird-looking growth. Cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (CyanoHABs) can look like scum, mats, spilled paint, or paint chips. The color of the water can turn blue, green, white, yellow, or brownish. Cyanobacteria are a potential public health danger because they may produce toxins, collectively referred to as “cyanotoxins”. Cyanotoxins can cause both acute and chronic illnesses, as these toxins target the liver, kidney, and central nervous system, and can irritate the skin. Acute effects, such as skin and mucous membrane irritations, can occur after short-term exposure to water-containing cyanotoxins. Chronic effects, such as liver, kidney, and central nervous system damage, can occur over a long period of time from ingesting water containing toxins.
If something seems off or suspicious, it is best to play it safe and stay out of the water. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Harmful Algal Blooms has launched a new and improved bloom report form to make reporting cyanobacterial bloom easier. By filling out the form and providing information on the location, date, and other pertinent information, NHDES will be able to respond faster and check cyanobacteria counts.
NHDES also provides a Healthy Swimming Mapper with current advisories and alerts for swimming places in New Hampshire. You can find more details about each warning, check out pictures of the bloom, and even see alerts directly on the map issued by the NHDES Beach Inspection Program and Cyanobacteria Harmful Algal Bloom Program. If you would like to stay in the loop with all the latest updates on cyanobacteria across the state, sign up for the NHDES weekly statewide cyanobacteria update.
The City of Lebanon encourages you to promptly report any concerns of discoloration or unusual growth in a body of water, take advantage of the resources provided by NHDES, pay attention to any posted signs or guidelines, and enjoy a summer filled with healthy swimming experiences.