The South Portland Parks and Recreation Department is warning dog owners to keep their pets away from two ponds at a popular recreation destination – Hinckley Park.

Parks and Recreation Department staff said they detected signs of a bluish and green algae bloom on Monday that could be extremely toxic to dogs. The blooms are visible at Hinckley Pond and Old Ice Pond.

Further testing on the blooms, which may be cyanobacteria, is being conducted by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. In the meantime, the Parks and Recreation Department has posted signs around the ponds and has closed them to public use.

“Please remember, if this is cyanobacteria, it is extremely toxic to your dog. Please keep them away from the waters edge, do not allow them to drink the water and do not allow them to swim in the water,” the Parks and Recreation Department wrote in a message posted on its Facebook page.

Cyanobacteria occur worldwide in calm, nutrient-rich waters, but some species produce toxins that can negatively affect animals and humans, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency. People and animals can be exposed to cyanobacterial toxins by drinking or bathing in contaminated water.

Located off Highland Avenue, Hinckley Park is managed by the South Portland Land Trust. The park consists of 40 acres, two scenic ponds and fresh water fishing. A walking trail goes around both ponds.

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