New: Another Local Pond Tests Positive for Poisonous Algae

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A normal scene at Park Road Park in south Charlotte Friday: people walking their dogs, spending time with their kids, even fishing in the park pond. “Yeah it’s a little concerning,” says Vanna Huot. The south Charlotte resident tells us he didn’t know that the pond had tested positive for toxic blue-green algae until we told him.

We were there as he caught and released a 16″ bass, and says he’ll stay out of the water. Huot says, “As far as being around it, I feel like it’s OK. As far as getting into it, probably not.”

Park visitor Patricia Issaco hadn’t heard about the toxic blue-green algae either, but says she doesn’t let her dog in the water anyway. She says, “Nice to walk around, but it just didn’t look healthy.”

It is not healthy, at least not right now. County officials want people and pets to stay out of the water. It can kill animals – at least four dogs have died recently after ingesting pond water – and it can harm humans. “The chemical could get on your skin, so it can cause a rash on your skin,” says Chris Matthews. He is the Mecklenburg County Park and Rec Department Division Director of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources. He says the toxic algae could be treated, but spraying with algaecide would disturb the algae and release the toxins. Instead: “(We’ll) let it run its course, let people know that this issue is here, and in another few months, it will go away on its own.”

Cold weather kills off the algae. Mecklenburg Co. Commissioner Susan Harden was out at the park, asking people to pay attention to the newly posted signs. She says, “Even if your dogs are thirsty, to not let them go to the pond to drink the water.”

“I let my dogs go in the water all the time. They love the water, the dirtier it is, the better,” says Waxhaw resident Brian Slep. But now, he says he and his family will heed the warnings. Slep says, “I’m glad they got the signs around the park, and making people aware.”

County officials say blue-green algae blooms happen every summer, but they’re taking extra precautions this summer because of the recent news of pet deaths. Mecklenburg County will test the county’s remaining 13 public ponds over the next two weeks:

-Freedom Park
-Hornet’s Nest Park
-Marshall Park
-Beatty Park
-Elon Park
-Reedy Creek Park
-McAlpine Park
-Clarks Creek Nature Preserve
-Ribbonwalk Nature Preserve
-Sherman Branch Nature Preserve
-Davie Park
-Idlewild Park
-Ezell Farm Park

The Park Road Park pond joins the Robbins Park pond in Cornelius, and a pond in the Tall Oaks neighborhood in Mooresville, on the list of local ponds that have tested positive for the toxic blue-green algae.