Broomfield’s Public Health and Environment has issued a warning to residents who may walk around or fish in the Brunner Reservoir.The reservoir, located east of the Broomfield Community Center, has been experiencing a blue-green algae bloom which can be problematic for those who come in contact with it. Signs have been posted around the reservoir and Public Health staff recommends that all contact with the water by humans and pets be avoided until the warning signs have been removed.
According to City and County Manager Charles Ozaki, “We have experienced outbreaks of this algae in other ponds and have handled the situation on this same manner. We do not believe this outbreak is connected to last weeks’ rains.”
Under the right conditions, blue-green algae can produce a chemical toxin called Microcystin. When the concentration of Microcystin is greater than 20 parts per billion (the action limit), it can irritate eyes and skin that come in contact with the water. If ingested, it can also irritate the esophagus and digestive tract. Currently, there is not a method or chemical to "treat" the pond for the blue-green algae other than aeration which limits algae growth.
Those at greater risk include children, toddlers, and pets who tend to explore the shoreline of a lake or play in the water.
The risks to humans and pets come from prolonged contact with skin and from swallowing the water. Symptoms from external exposure are skin rashes, lesions and blisters. More severe cases can include mouth ulcers, ulcers inside the nose, eye and/or ear irritation and blistering of the lips.
Symptoms from ingestion can include headaches, nausea, muscular pains, central abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting. Severe cases could include seizures, liver failure, respiratory arrest, and even death, although this is rare. The severity of the illness is related to the amount of water ingested and the concentrations of the toxins.
Public Health reports that the reservoir will continue to be monitored for the Microcystin levels until the algae bloom dies off and levels are below the action limit.