Blue-green algae, other parasites found in bathing sites in Estonia

  • 2022-07-12
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Vigilance is urged in bathing sites across Estonia as in addition to water pollution, the Health Board has discovered blue-green algae or parasites in certain bodies of water, which leave swimmers with a red rash, Postimees reports

At the end of June, an oil spill was discovered in the bathing area of Stroomi beach in Tallinn, which the Rescue Board has picked up by hand and utilized. Based on the location of the spill and laboratory analyses conducted on the collected samples, it was possible to determine that the pollution came from a heavy fuel oil.

The Health Board collected water samples from the bathing site on Friday last week and the results should be announced on Tuesday evening. As it remains unknown if and how the spill is spreading, Stroomi beach is likely to fly a purple flag until the end of the summer season advising people against swimming.

There are more places in Estonia where caution is advised when bathing. For example, blue-green algae was found in samples collected from the beach of Lake Harku in Harju County on July 1 and a purple flag has likewise been hoisted to warn swimmers.

At Kabli beach in Parnu County, intestinal enterococci and E.coli bacteria in amounts bigger than allowed for bathing water in were found in initial water samples. The results of analyses conducted on additional samples collected on July 7 have yet to arrive.

"At the Narva-Joaoru bathing site in East-Viru County, construction works are underway and the circulation of water is disrupted as a result. There have been reports of some children developing a rash after swimming. Water analyses and blue-green algae levels are within the norm. The skin irritation may be caused by cercariae, a group of flatworm parasites in the larval stage," chief specialist at the Health Board's environmental health department Lauri Liepkalns said. Swimming in the area is not recommended for the time being.

Cercariae are also suspected in the Turi artificial lake and bathing sites in Lake Viljandi, according to the Health Board.