Pond at popular Charlotte park tests positive for toxic algae

Toxic algae was found at a pond at a popular Charlotte park, officials said.

Testing performed Thursday at the pond at Park Road Park by Park and Recreation and Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services confirmed that the pond tested positive for the toxic version of blue-green algae. 

Dozens of signs are now up, telling people not to swim, fish or allow pets near the water were placed all around the pond and will stay until the pond is no longer toxic. They say contact with the water could cause a reaction or a rash in people and be deadly for pets.

Experts say the blue green algae grows every summer but doesn't always become toxic. However, this year several dogs have died across the country after coming in contact with the water. Officials say now it's time for them to educate the public.  

"In the late summer when it's hot and we have a lot of sunlight the algae will start to grown and it grows to such a level and concentration that it can become toxic."

County officials are testing 45 ponds that are popular destinations for people and their pets over the next two weeks. 15 of those are under Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation. They include:

  • 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

So far we're told there are no reports of people or pets becoming sick from algae in Mecklenburg County, but signs are being posted around all 14 parks, warning pets and people to stay out of the water. 

"Treatment options are being considered and Park and Recreation will continue to evaluate these ponds until the level of blue-green algae drops below toxic levels," according to a news release from Mecklenburg County officials.

All visitors are encouraged to avoid contact with all ponds. 

"Do not allow pets to enter or drink from any pond, and keep dogs on a leash to minimize the chance of coming into contact with the water."

Results for the remainder of the ponds being tested including Freedom Park should be in by the end of the month. Parks and rec also says they are looking into permanent signs to educate the public on blue green algae.