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Toxic Algae Found At Schiller Park Pond

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The Columbus Parks and Recreation Department warns pet owners at Schiller Park to stay away from the pond.  Recent tests of the water show it's contaminated with toxic algae.

The below transcript is an automated transcript of the above conversation. Please excuse minor typos and errors.

Debbie Holmes: Tell me about Schiller Park and what happened to the pond.

Terri Leist: Well we started noticing a growth in the pond waters. We did have them tested and found that we do have an algae bloom there. We believe it is caused from an overload of phosphorus. That's primarily going to be because of dropping from animals, probably water fowl so ducks geese or any the other kind of bird that may be flying over the water or got into the water. Also could be from the Schiller Park in particular gets a lot of people coming there with their pets and if the pets have any kind of droppings into the park Mother Nature's rains and washes those into the pond as well.

So that's what we're looking at and so we decided that we needed to post a notice to alert folks. Because again that particular park a lot of people bring their pets to that park so we wanted to make sure that we put people on notice not to allow their pets to get into the pond and/or to drink the water because we didn't want anybody to get sick.

DH: Now have you posted a sign like this before?

TL: No we posted this probably about two-and-a half weeks ago to start alerting people. We also have signs posted in Krumm Park as well because we started to notice a growth there and so again just trying to keep people and their pets safe.

DH: Now you said you don't think you've ever posted a sign like that before so what do you think is causing this to be such a contaminated state today?

TL: It may been just the expertise that we have on staff now to know what's going on, it could be just a build up over time of the droppings from the animals, and so it just kind of came to a head. As you had the warmer temperatures and the rain that we saw this year was just to build up of over a couple years. Which may be why we haven't seen it before. So there are varying reasons as to why all of a sudden it started to bloom.

DH: Is there an increase maybe in the number of pets people are bringing there or more pet owners not picking up after their pets?

TL: I don't know that we can narrow it down to what type of animals. I think it's been a build up over years time. And so I don't think that this was just happen just all of a sudden this summer I think that it's been a build up over a long-term-period where you have a lot of especially waterfowl that that come and come into that park and into that pond and I think it's just been a long-term or long time thing coming because of the build up because of the droppings.

DH: Are you testing other park ponds?

TL: Not at this time.

DH: Why is that?

TL: We haven't seen an incidence of it we at the other parks we've noticed some potential growth at Westgate Park but not to an algae bloom. So we haven't seen anything else anywhere else to alert us that we need to do testing in other parks.

DH: And so far do you know if any pets have gotten ill from this?

TL: None that we've been made aware of.

DH: What will the recreation and parks department be doing to stem this contamination?

TL: Where working with two different companies to get proposals from them to treat the ponds to get the algae growth under control and to eliminate it. Once we get their proposals which we hope to have within the next week or so then we'll have one of those companies go in and start treating the pond.

DH: We've been talking with Terry least assistant director of the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department. About contaminated. Pond water. Thank you so much.

TL: Thank you.