Green algae oozing from Burnley pavement

A widow whose husband died after developing Legionnaires’ Disease is calling for algae to be cleaned up near her Burnley home.

Flora Cheetham, whose partner Jack died two years after developing the lung disease on holiday in Benidorm, says green slime has been oozing from beneath the pavement and on steps near her home in Ighten Road.

The green algae in Ighten Road.

The green algae in Ighten Road.

Mrs Cheetham fears the algae could be harmful to health and has repeatedly complained to Burnley Council about the problem which is affecting a footpath near a playground in Ighten Road.

She said: “You can get Legionnaires’ Disease from warm stagnant water when it is starting to go green. You can get it from breathing it in.

“This is what worries me. My husband was on a life support machine and in hospital for 13 weeks. He died two years later.

“It needs sorting – not just treating. It is an environmental health problem.

The green algae in Ighten Road.

The green algae in Ighten Road.

“It is all oozing through with green slime on the steps and now it has been coming up through the pavement.

“It has been like this for years. But Burnley Council are making out that it is nothing. I just hope nobody hurts themselves on it.”

Burnley Council officials say they are investigating the cause of the problem – but underlined that the algae was not harmful to humans.

A spokesman for Burnley Council said: “The algae is caused by water running across the path surface from the adjoining land.

“Burnley Council bases its approach to green algae on a proper consideration of its risk.

“Green algae is a naturally occurring single celled plant that thrives in damp conditions. It is not toxic but can cause paths and surfaces to become slippery.

“Green algae is not to be confused with ‘blue-green algae’, which is actually a bacteria and can cause problems in lakes and ponds during hot weather.

“The council has cleaned the path and steps, in response to contact from a member of the public. Some further drainage work will be undertaken shortly, with the aim of preventing water running across the path.”

The council is investigating, with United Utilities, whether the problem is caused by a leak in a United Utilities water pipe.

But Michael Haworth, from United Utilities, said: “We went out to site on Monday, June 9th with a representative from the council to carry out some investigation work.

“No leak was found on our pipe. We understand the council are going to carry on looking into the cause of this issue.”