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Toxin levels in Goddard Park pond being repaired

09/10/2014 05:10PM ● Published by Lev

The pond at Goddard Park in Wrest Grove is being treated for high levels of blue-green algae.

By Richard L. Gaw

Staff Writer

 The pond at Goddard Park, recently found to contain high amounts of toxic blue-green algae and closed to the public since late July, is on its way to becoming algae-free.

Evidence of the toxic material found at the 1.5-acre, five-foot-deep pond were found in a report conducted by SOLitude Lake Management of Virginia Beach, Va. on July 23. The density and biomass level of the blue-green algae in the pond were measured to be 10,300,000, which was classified to be an “extreme” exposure risk.

Blue-green algae is fairly present in freshwater ponds and lakes throughout the United States, and often appears  in the form of bluish-green surface scum or thick mats, although some infestations are dispersed through the water that can cause discoloring of the water.  Blue-green algae contains cyanobacteria, which when found in high levels can be extremely dangerous to both humans and animals. The report said that the existence of cyanobacteria can pose significant health risks to both humans and wildlife. Common toxins associated with the algae include hepatotoxins, which can impact the liver and the kidney; neurotoxins, which affects the brain; dermatitis toxins, which can impact the skin and digestive system; and gastrointestinal toxins, which can negatively impact the digestive system.

The report also said that correlations have been made between chronic exposure to cyanotoxin and neuro degenerative diseases, such as ALS and Alzheimer's, and human fatalities have also been recorded in extreme exposure scenarios.

The pond is on the mend, however, as officials from SOLitude Lake Management have made treatments at the pond on Aug. 18, 20, 22, 28 and Sept. 3 – through the application of XTR algaecide at a rate range of 1.2 to 2.4 gallons per acre. Officials recently informed London Grove Township Manager Steve Brown they detected a significant decrease in the amount of blue-green algae.

Brown said that another site visit is scheduled for this week, when additional samples will be taken from the pond.

SOLitude Lake Management also conducted bother water quality and nutrient content of the pond. The pond was found to be “notable acidic,” due in large part to the high levels of blue-algae that were detected. Its dissolved oxygen levels were deemed to be acceptable for fish, although its alkaline levels were said to be “highly buffered.” The phosphorous counts in the pond were described as being at a “very high amount” and its total nitrogen levels were “relatively high,” while total sediment, free reactive phosphorous and chlorophyll levels were measured to be fairly stable.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, e-mail rgaw@chestercounty.com.

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