, senior reporter
Friday, February 8, 2013
An assessment will be carried out to a Norfolk town’s Mere to determine what treatment is needed to prevent the return of toxic blue-green algae during the summer.
Diss Town Council is hoping to appoint an independent expert to carry out the analysis of what chemicals are present in the water in the town’s Mere in Mere Street so the council can then decide on an appropriate treatment to prevent a build-up of the algae, which can be fatal to dogs and fish and cause skin irritation and stomach upsets in humans.
In recent years, the algae, which thrive on warm temperatures, sunny conditions and high nutrient levels in the water, have become a particular problem with the town council having to switch off the popular water fountain feature, fearing visitors and residents could be sprayed by toxic water droplets in windy weather.
Town clerk Deborah Sarson said: “We need to understand exactly what is wrong with the water in order to know what to use to put it right. We need to know what the levels of different substances are so we know that the things we are putting in there are going to be of benefit.”
She added the council had yet to trial a pump installed in the Mere, which could help prevent algae from building up by moving different strata of water around and helping to provide oxygen to the water.
The problem has been linked to bread fed to ducks which produce high nutrients in their faeces so the council is advising visitors to feed the ducks with pellets instead.