Local News

Algal Bloom Warning: Harray & Kirbister Lochs

Orkney Islands Council’s Environmental Health Team has placed warning notices at the Loch of Kirbister and Loch of Harray after confirmation from SEPA that blue green algal blooms have been found in the waters there.

View over Harray Loch with sun and hills of Hoy
Image credit Christie Grahame

How Can You Help?

Blue-green algae are a type of bacteria (also known as cyanobacteria) that occur naturally in freshwaters and can produce potent toxins, which can be very harmful to people and animals. They cause skin rashes on swimmers and are responsible for the deaths of dogs, cattle, fish and birds. They are particularly a health risk during warm summer months, when their numbers can increase to form dense blooms and scum on the surface of the water. With climate change we are seeing more and more severe blooms in our freshwaters.

Download the app on Google Play or the App Store

Email: bloomin-algae@ceh.ac.uk

Bloomin’ Algae is a citizen science app that encourages the public and water-related businesses to report the presence of harmful blooms of blue-green algae in freshwaters. The app helps speed up public health warnings and teach you how to recognise the risks to you and your pets.

  • Download the app on Google Play or the App Store
  • Submit a record with a photo of any suspicious looking algal bloom and location details
  • An expert will review your photo(s) and provide rapid feedback to you.
  • Your record rapidly notifies the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and local authorities, so they can provide early warning on health risks to others in your area.
  • Your records also help improve the scientific understanding of how the frequency and size of blooms are being impacted by climate change.

To help provide a rapid and more comprehensive picture of harmful algal blooms in our areas, everyone can send in a potential record of an algal bloom using the citizen science Bloomin’Algae app. Recording incidents using the Bloomin’Algae app is quick and easy. This helps inform SEPA, local authority or landowner of potential public health risks, and if needed, to provide an early warning to the public. Bloomin’Algae is available from Google Play or App Store.

The app, which has been created by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, in collaboration with the Environment Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Public Health England and Health Protection Scotland, enables users to submit a photo of the bloom and state what activity takes place at the location, so that the potential risks to people and animals can be gauged.

All verified records can easily be viewed on the Bloomin’ Algae interactive map

Leave a Reply