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Photo via NYC Parks
Photo via NYC Parks
Willow trees on the shore of Bowne Park in Flushing.

With summer temperatures on the rise, Queens residents may want to think twice before diving into this Flushing pond to cool off.

State environmental investigators recently found that Bowne Pond — on the western end of Bowne Park in Flushing — contains large amounts of algae blooms with the potential to produce toxins that can harm humans and animals, as reported by Patch.  

Samples of the water taken by Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) officials revealed that the pond contains “widespread/lakewide” contamination. More specifically, that means the entire water body or most to all of the shoreline is affected by the bloom.

The DEC website advises people, pets and livestock to avoid contact with any water that is discolored or has algae scums on its surface. Coming in contact with toxic algae can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or even breathing difficulties.

Colors of algae can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red.

While it may sound threatening, the type of contamination is not as severe as other bodies of water around the city such as Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn and Morningside Pond in Harlem. Those are identified by the DEC as already having confirmed levels of high toxins.

The DEC urges anyone who suspects they have seen algae blooms in any public body of water to report it to the agency, and those who come in contact with algae should wash it off thoroughly with clean water.

First acquired by the Parks Department in 1925, Bowne Park is named after former Mayor Walter Bowne who, ironically, is remembered for his strict policies attempting to prevent an outbreak of cholera — which spreads through contaminated water.


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