The beach and swim area at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield is closed, and expected to remain close through at least the weekend. Lifeguards at the park alerted the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Thursday to blue-green algae that can emit toxins possibly harmful to people and dogs.
DEEP Analyst Charles Lee says they are monitoring the water quality to assess conditions. Lee says the scum has since blown away from the swimming area, but because of the potential health effects the area remains closed.
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, occur naturally in lakes and ponds. The microscopic organisms often go unnoticed and cause no harm but when temperatures are high and high levels of phosphorus are carried into water from storm runoff, blue-green algae blooms may be produced and release toxins.
Potential health effects to such exposure could include:
Irritation of the skin, nose, eyes and respiratory tract.
Gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting or diarrhea upon ingestion.
Liver or nervous system effects, if relatively large amounts of the algae are ingested.