People and pets should avoid contact with the milky water above the North Pond dam and in Great Meadow Stream, despite testing that found no trace of the toxin most commonly observed toxin in Maine lakes after an algal bloom.
7 Lakes Alliance Science Director Dr. Danielle Wain says the milky white color of the water at the dam and in Great Meadow Stream is likely a result of the dying algae bloom on North Pond. When algae die and decay, they can change the water to unnatural colors as the pigments they contain are released. Additionally, the decaying process consumes oxygen and can change the pH of the water. That leads to chemical reactions with the sediments on the stream’s bed that can cause color changes, as well.
Wain also noted oxygen levels in the water are low. That may result in fish kills in North Pond.
The discolored water likely will arrive in North Bay on Great Pond in the next week. The lower half of Great Meadow Stream is winding and has a large wetland area that will likely slow and, to some extent, filter the water.
Despite the absence of this toxin, humans and pets should avoid contact with discolored water and surface scum, per Maine Department of Environmental Protection recommendations. A good rule of thumb is to stay out of water if, while standing in a lake, you cannot see your feet.