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Algal bloom 'most likely cause' as sea turns orange

Algal bloom 'most likely cause' as sea turns orange

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 8:14am 25th October 2019. (Updated at 11:29am 26th October 2019)

The Environment Agency has revealed the most likely cause of what turned the sea orange in Cornwall.

Officials think an algal bloom could have sparked the change in the water around St Austell Bay.

They have launched an investigation after several swimmers reported suffering skin rashes.

For now, bathers, children and pets are being urged to avoid coming into contact with the discoloured water.

Orange water
The Environment Agency has revealed that an algal bloom is the most likely cause of Cornwall's orange sea. Photo: Debby Beale Lote

What is the advice from the Environment Agency?

Samples are going to be taken and analysed after people reported skin irritation.

"The Environment Agency was alerted to reports of orange staining at various beaches in St Austell Bay in Cornwall yesterday afternoon (23 October). 

"One bather reported mild skin irritation after coming into contact with the discolouration. 

"The likely cause is an algal bloom, but this cannot be confirmed until a sample is taken and analysed. 

"We are working with Cornwall Port Health Authority and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) to confirm what the orange discolouration is caused by. 

"In the meantime, we advise bathers, children and pets to avoid contact with discoloured water."

Environment Agency

Orange water
Officials are urging bathers, pets and children to avoid contact with discoloured water around St Austell Bay. Photo: Debby Beale Lote

What is the response from South West Water?

“Our pumping station is operating correctly and there is no evidence of a blockage or flooding from our network.

“We would encourage members of the public who see something they think may be sewage pollution to contact us as soon as possible on 0344 346 2020 so that we can investigate.

The Environment Agency also has an incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60.

“We take reports of pollution incidents seriously and will investigate within two hours to ensure any impact on the environment is minimised.”

South West Water

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