Toxic Algae Levels Triple in Jamaica Pond

Dusk at Jamaica Pond, June 2014

Chris Helms

Dusk at Jamaica Pond, June 2014

The level of toxic algae in closed-to-the-public Jamaica Pond has tripled since the last test. Humans and their pets must stay out of Jamaica Pond until officials give the all-clear.

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 to have risen to 240,000 cells per milliliter of water, according to a press release from the Boston Public Health Commission. The previous week the level stood at 81,576 cells/milliliter.

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 initial advisory.

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.

Signs caution residents from entering, or allowing their pets to enter Jamaica Pond.

Signs caution residents from entering, or allowing their pets to enter Jamaica Pond.

While residents do seem to be aware of the Pond’s closure, the dangerousness of the algae bloom has taken some folks by surprise.

Brookline’s James Parker told Jamaica Plain News last week that the warning signs around the Pond should be more conspicuous.

“There should be a big red flag in the middle of the path,” said Parker.

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

Officials will be testing algae levels each week until they are confident they can give an all-clear.