DEC: Fresh Pond ‘Not Swimmable’

Shelter Island’s Fresh Pond has been deemed not swimmable by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The DEC has confirmed the presence of a new cyanobacteria bloom, more commonly known as blue-green algae, in the pond, which is dotted with upscale homes along its shores.

Because of these findings, health officials have asked residents not to use or swim or wade in these waters and to keep their pets and children away from the area.

Signs have been posted at the pond’s access alerting Islanders of the risk.

Though blue-green algae are naturally present in lakes and streams in low numbers, they can become abundant, forming blooms in shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown, or red. The algae may produce floating scums on the surface of the water or may cause the water to take on paint-like appearance.

The DEC advises that contact with water that appears scummy or discolored should be avoided. If contact does occur, rinse off with clean water immediately. Seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur after contact: nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; skin, eye or throat irritation; or allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.

To report a suspected blue-green algae bloom at a body of water that contains a Suffolk County-permitted bathing beach, contact the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ Office of Ecology at 631-852-5760 between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM or by email at any time at [email protected].

To report a suspected blue-green algae bloom that is in a body of water that does not contain a Suffolk County permitted bathing beach, contact the Division of Water at New York State DEC at 518-402-8179 between 8 AM and 4 PM or anytime via email at h[email protected].

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