Confirmed: Algae Bloom in Jamaica Pond is Toxic

Dusk at Jamaica Pond, June 2014

Chris Helms

Dusk at Jamaica Pond, June 2014

Tests show that the blue-green algae bloom at Jamaica Pond is indeed toxic, according to a press release from the Boston Public Health Commission. Humans and their pets must stay out of Jamaica Pond until officials give the all-clear.

That’s going to be at least two weeks, since two clean weekly tests in a row are required.

The state considers safe levels of this algae to be 70,000 cells per milliliter of water. Tests done Monday showed the Pond’s figure at 81,576 cells/milliliter.

Residents began noticing Monday that the boathouse was closed. The Health Commission has ordered residents to keep away from the water, even on the shore.

The following activities are prohibited until further notice:

  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Any recreational activity in or on the water
  • Allowing dogs to swim in or drink Pond water

Possible effects of contact range from eye irritation to, in extreme cases, organ damage and even death, the Health Commission wrote in an advisory earlier this week.

If you or your children do come in contact with the algae, officials say to wash it off right away.

Dogs are prone to eat pond scum or get it on their fur and lick it off. Officials say to watch dogs who have become in contact with the algae for vomiting, staggering, drooling and convulsions.

Such blooms are a recurrent feature of Jamaica Pond. For instance, back in 2006, The Gazette covered one bloom that turned out not to be dangerous.

Please click through to the Public Health Commission’s website for more on this dangerous algae bloom.