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Saturday, August 23, 2014

State lifts warning about bacteria in Hudson’s Ottarnic Pond

CONCORD – The state has lifted its warning about Ottarnic Pond in Hudson, saying that the bloom of cyanobacteria that caused it to be shut Aug. 4 has ended.

Samples collected and examined Thursday had no visible signs of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, said a release from the Department of Environmental Services. ...

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CONCORD – The state has lifted its warning about Ottarnic Pond in Hudson, saying that the bloom of cyanobacteria that caused it to be shut Aug. 4 has ended.

Samples collected and examined Thursday had no visible signs of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, said a release from the Department of Environmental Services.

“However, once a bloom has been seen in a lake, that lake is more likely to have future blooms,” the release notes. “Please continue to monitor your individual shoreline for changing conditions and avoid any large amounts of growth in the water.”

The pond doesn’t have a designated beach, but it has a boat launch. The DES doesn’t recommend any human or animal contact with water when blooms of the algae are visible.

Cyanobacteria is a natural component of water bodies worldwide, but surface scums can form when too much phosphorus enters the water – often because of fertilizer runoff or, in the case of small ponds such as Ottarnic, nearby septic systems.

Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that are stored within the cells, but released upon cell death. These toxins can cause acute problems such as skin irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and chronic long-term problems such as liver and central nervous system damage.

Algae blooms have drawn attention this summer because of massive problems on Lake Erie that led to water rationing in Toledo, Ohio.

While not the same as the Ottarnic Pond problem, that reflected the same underlying problem: excess nutrients washing into the water. An increase in strong rainstorms linked to climate change has contributed to the problem.