DOG walkers and swimmers have been warned as a strain of algae which can be toxic has been found in a Newport pond.

Earlier this month, those responsible for managing Lliswerry Pond noticed a green scum on the surface of the water, and called Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to the city to carry out tests.

According to Lliswerry Pond chairman Ben Edmunds, while it was confirmed to be blue-green algae, the NRW laboratory was able to confirm that the algae present is one of the less toxic strains.

However, members of the public are still being advised to keep themselves, and their pets, away from the water.

As a result, people – or their pets, are not currently allowed to swim, or drink the water, as it still may be harmful.

Speaking to the Argus, Mr Edmunds said: “We noticed the problem 10 days ago, and immediately informed all the authorities – including local schools, who often come here for outdoor activities.

“Natural Resources Wales came along and did samples, which confirmed that it is blue-green algae, but not the very toxic one.

“We bought two pumps to keep oxygen in the water, and we’re continuing to control it.

“It normally takes three to five weeks to clear, but we’re hoping that the thunderstorms forecast on Friday and Saturday will help clear it.”

A type of algae that grows during warm weather in still freshwater, there have been a number of confirmed cases across the UK this year, including one in Snowdonia National Park.

The algae is known to be harmful to animals, and is believed to have been responsible for the death of four dogs in the UK this year.

Work is well underway at Lliswerry Pond to remove the threat, and pictures taken by Mr Edmunds and his partner, pond cheif executive Leanne Tutton, show that efforts to pump the pond with oxygen has restored the pond to its original appearance.

With progress being made, fisherman are again able to fish here – providing precautions are taken.

Mr Edmunds said: “At the moment it is safe for fishermen – if they sanitise their hands after touching any fish that have been in the water.

“We’ve also installed dips for people to sanitise their nets and equipment before leaving, so that they don’t take anything with them to other fishing lakes.

“We’ve got six-to-eight bailiffs on site too, making sure everyone is following the rules and staying safe”.

Earlier today (July 21), Newport City Council posted a warning to their social media channels, advising people against fishing on site too - though their Facebook post has since been edited to remove the fishing warning.

However, the warning against swimming, and all other contact with the water remains in place.

Similar algae has also been spotted at Rogerstone's Fourteen Locks Canal Centre.

Newport news

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae grows on the surface of freshwater ponds and lakes, and appears as a green surface scum – and is reported to give off a rotting vegetable type smell.

It typically grows during warm weather, but also requires the right kind of nutrients to be present in the water.

Some strains of blue-green algae are toxic to humans and animals alike, with a number of recorded cases of dogs dying shortly after drinking infected water in the UK this year.

Unfortunately, without laboratory testing, it is impossible to determine if a strain is toxic or not.

Symptoms develop quickly, within minutes or hours in some cases, and include vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures and blood in faeces.

Ultimately, it can lead to liver failure, and, while there is no known antidote, it is advised that rapid treatment is the best course of action.