FRAMINGHAM, MA - The Memorial Day weekend and recent hot temperatures brought swimmers to the shores of local beaches, unfortunately for those wanting to swim in Framingham's Waushakum Pond the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH) has issued a PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISORY for the body of water.
On May 30th, 2023, the Framingham Park & Recreation Department notified the public (via social media) that the body of water is UNSAFE FOR PEOPLE AND PETS!
Notices warn residents intending to use Waushakum for recreation:
- Do not swim.
- Do not swallow the water.
- Keep animals away.
- Rinse off after contact with water
According the MA DPH websites, "Cyanobacteria (sometimes called blue-green algae) occur naturally in freshwater, but under certain conditions they can multiply quickly, creating a highly concentrated area known as an “algae bloom”. Algae blooms can be harmful to humans and animals. Some harmful cyanobacteria produce toxins (known as cyanotoxins) that are dangerous at very low levels in surface waterbodies."
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), exposure to cyanobacteria may cause symptoms ranging from stomach pain, vomiting, or diarrhea to headache, fever, tiredness, or other general symptoms as well as skin, eye, nose, or throat irritation or even neurological symptoms such as muscle weakness or dizziness.
The MA DPH website notes that in Massachusetts harmful algae blooms may occur at any time of year -- they are most common in late summer and early fall. This may not bode well for those who enjoy swimming in Waushakum as bloom this early in the season may be an early indication that the beach may be closed often as it has been in past years.
Water treatment using a copper based algaecide has been used in past years to reduce cyanobacteria hazard.
For more info about the health notice visit the MA DPH web page: Cyanobacteria in Recreational Freshwater.
For detailed information about health risks, visit the CDC page about Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs).