NEW BEDFORD — Harmful algae has been detected in New Bedford's Sassaquin Pond, and residents are advised to avoid contact with the water until further notice.

That's according to a statement from Mayor Jon Mitchell's office Wednesday noting that cyanobacteria was found in water samples from the pond.

Cyanobacteria is blue-green and occurs naturally in fresh water in Massachusetts, usually in late summer and early fall.

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But under certain conditions, a concentrated area of the bacteria — called an algae bloom — can produce toxins that may cause illness in humans and could be deadly for dogs and other pets.

City residents and their pets should avoid direct contact with the water including wading or swimming until lab results can rule out the presence of dangerous bacteria, according to the mayor's office.

Laboratories at New Bedford's Health Department and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health are analyzing water samples from the pond to determine water quality.

Members of the public are asked to stay out of the water at Sassaquin Pond until further notice.

More information about naturally occurring algae blooms can be found at mass.gov/info-details/harmful-algae-blooms-in-freshwater-bodies.

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