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Potentially harmful algae found in South Portland park for 3rd year in a row

The cyanobacteria bloom found in Hinckley Park can be extremely toxic to dogs

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Editor's note: The video above is from 2019.

For the third year in a row, a harmful alga has been found in Hinckley Park in South Portland. The bacteria associated with the algae can be extremely toxic to dogs.

The South Portland Parks and Recreation Department posted a warning about the cyanobacteria bloom, also known as blue-green algae, on its Facebook page Monday, saying people, children, and dogs should stay away from the water.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that not all algal blooms are harmful. A cyanobacterial algal bloom can be harmful when the toxins it produces in air and water reach concentrations that are dangerous to people, marine life, and the environment.

According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, small amounts of toxins can cause mild reactions like a rash and fever. However, severe reactions and death of pets or livestock drinking contaminated water have been reported from many locations outside of Maine, the Maine DEP’s website says.

The South Portland Parks and Recreation Department said after water temperatures cool and there are no signs of the bloom present this fall, the warning signs posted in the park will be taken down and they'll let people know the water is safe again.

For more information on this cyanobacteria and the dangers and symptoms in humans and pets, see the following resources:

Editor's note: Our stories below are from 2019, but relay useful information about blue-green algae.