Poisonous Ponds, Dead Pets, New Fear About What’s in the Water

MONROE, N.C. – At Mandie Ring’s pond in Monroe, the water is still, and she says the algae is spreading. She says, “The water has just been sitting and settling.”

She’s owned this pond for about four years. She says this summer is the quietest she’s ever seen it: usually there are ducks, geese, a swan, and more fish.

“It’s nothing now. Which is very weird,” she says, of the lack of wildlife on the water.

Her 125 pound dog also died, she says, after being in the pond. She says, “The fish were dead, and he was eating them.”

Ring says all of it makes her suspicious that what’s growing in her pond could be poisonous. Her fears, stoked by the recent news of dogs that died in Georgia and Wilmington after ingesting pond water contaminated with what’s called blue-green algae.

This week, a pond in a neighborhood in Mooresville tested positive for it, and so did the pond in Robbins Park in Cornelius. Warm weather brings it on. Approved chemicals, and cold weather, kills it off.

“Our focus right now is to try to see if there are other ponds in community parks or public parks that we need to be looking at,” says Rusty Rozzelle. He manages water quality in Mecklenburg County. He says not all algae is blue-green, and not all blue-green is toxic. The poisonous type can only been confirmed under a microscope.

He says, “If you see the green scum on the water, it’s not positive it’s blue-green algae, but that should be a sign for folks to keep their pets out of the water.”

Ring is working to find a company to come test her pond. In the meantime, she’s warning neighbors to keep their animals, and kids, away from the water. She says she’s told them, “I want you to be really careful.”

The toxic blue-green algae can irritate human skin if you get it on your body. The chemical treatment to knock the bacteria back in a pond, can take up to two weeks to work.