‘Keep away:’ Dog-killing toxic algae bloom infests pond at a popular Lake Norman park

Joe Marusak

A dog-killing toxic blue-green algae emerged recently in a pond at a popular Cornelius park.

“Keep away from the water’s edge for your safety,” town officials warned in an online alert after the algae appeared in the southern pond at Robbins Park, off West Catawba Avenue at Lake Norman.

“Swimming by dogs or people is prohibited,” according to the cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) alert on the town’s website, cornelius.org . “PLEASE KEEP PETS OUT OF THE WATER!”

The pond is behind the park’s tennis courts off Robbins Crescent Drive.

Cyanobacteria “are natural organisms that are present in most lakes,” according to the town’s alert. “Certain conditions can cause cyanobacteria to bloom and release toxins.”

Ingesting or even just contacting the algae “can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions, gastrointestinal problems or, at high doses, serious illness or even death,” town officials said.

Town workers found the algae on Aug. 8, and a pond company treated the bloom with an EPA-approved product, Observer news partner WBTV reported. Only more rainfall can wipe the algae out entirely, according to the station.

Four dogs in the South died in a matter of days from swimming in lakes with toxic blue-green algae, according to multiple reports, McClatchy Newsgroup reported.

Three dogs died on Aug. 8 after swimming in Wilmington, N.C., according to WECT. A fourth dog died Saturday after swimming in a lake near Marietta, Ga., WXIA reported, according to McClatchy Newsgroup.