Lab analyses

Blue-green algae

Blue-green algae partly derive their name from the blue-green colour that becomes visible when blooms occur. The name 'algae' is somewhat misleading because it is not actually algae, but cyanobacteria. These bacteria occur in fresh and salt water and cause problems in swimming water, especially in summer. Waardenburg Ecology regularly carries out research into this.

Since the current European Bathing Water Directive was published in March 2006, every Member State is obliged to carry out appropriate inspections to determine the health risks posed by blue-green algae. In the Netherlands, the government determines the official swimming locations together with the water authorities and together they are responsible for the assessment of water quality.

Health risks due to blue-green algae

Most people know blue-green algae from the blue-green floating layers that can form in sheltered places in many of our ponds and lakes in the summer. Not all blue-green algae form floating layers, however, all blue-green algae can cause skin irritation in swimmers. In addition, many blue-green algae produce toxins that can cause nausea, diarrhea or more serious complaints. Dogs and waterbirds can also fall victim to toxic blue-green algae blooms.

Analysis of recreational waters

At the our laboratory we determine the amount of blue-green algae in bathing water samples through accredited techniques. We distinguish between toxic and non-toxic species, in accordance with the current Blue-Algae Protocol 2020. Our data contributes annually to a reliable quality assessment of bathing waters in the Netherlands.