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North Pond clarity improves, no toxins detected

Measurements taken on North Pond on Monday, Aug. 1, showed water clarity has improved to 7 feet since the lake suffered a full algal bloom July 22.

7 Lakes Science Director Dr. Danielle Wain cautioned that North Pond is “not out of the woods yet,” noting the water remains green in color and phosphorus levels are high. Phosphorus is the nutrient that supports algal growth.

Toxin tests conducted Monday continue to show no traces of the algal toxin microcystin.

Dr. Wain said the bloom may dissipate in late August, depending on weather conditions and high temperatures remaining relatively mild.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection considers an algal bloom potentially harmful if water clarity is less than 3.3 feet (1 meter) and a nuisance when clarity is 6.6 feet (2 meters) or less. Maine DEP advises humans and pets to stay out of the water if a lake looks green or cloudy, smells bad, has scum on the surface, or if swimmers can't see their feet while standing in 4-5 feet of water. Surface scums are most likely to accumulate along shores and should always be avoided because these scums are the most likely region of the lake to produce toxins (although testing by 7 Lakes and Maine DEP has not yet detected any toxins in North Pond).

Humans and pets should rinse thoroughly with soap and fresh water if they come in contact with a bloom. Showers using lake water during a bloom should be brief; breathing toxins in shower mist could cause health issues.

There are no confirmed cases in Maine of pets dying from a harmful algal bloom, though they can be a serious threat to animals. Pets are more likely to drink from an impacted lake. They can also swallow toxins on their fur while grooming themselves.



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