Protect Your Pooch From Harmful Algal Blooms

Harmful algal blooms associated with nutrient pollution can produce toxins that can harm pets and people and increase water treatment costs for drinking water.

Nutrient pollution is one of America's most challenging environmental problems.

Harmful algal blooms can occur naturally, but human activities are contributing to an increase in their frequency and severity due to excess nutrients that come from farms and yards, urban runoff, wastewater treatment plants, septic systems, and the burning of fossil fuels. You can help protect your favorite water body by: taking care not to over fertilize your lawn; picking up pet waste and properly managing waste from livestock; using green practices such as rain barrels, rain gardens and permeable pavements; maintaining your septic system; and encouraging your community to invest in its wastewater infrastructure.

This video by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is intended to illustrate what can happen during a Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB). Cyanobacteria blooms can have a similar appearance and are often associated with layers of green slime and clumps of algae floating on the surface of the water. This reenactment was designed to help raise awareness about the problem of nutrient pollution and its potential impacts on human and animal health and the aquatic environment. However, no humans or pets were put at risk during production, and there were no real warnings or restrictions posted at this particular waterbody.

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