Protestors Refute Cyanobacteria Danger at Lake Agawam

Protestors say Lake Agawam cyanobacteria isn't dangerous
Protestors say Lake Agawam cyanobacteria isn’t dangerous, Photo: 123RF

From the Cold Case Files of the Hamptons Police Blotter.

Many cases are still open and/or unsolved in the Hamptons Police Department. A special task force remains on the job to continue searching for new evidence or information that may lead to closure. This is one of those stories.


The Hamptons Police Department struggled to maintain order this week as hundreds of residents attempted to swim in Southampton’s highly polluted Lake Agawam. The rush of swimmers followed a federal Board of Environmental / Ecological Safety and Success (BE / ESS) announcement that cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae) is just as safe as mercury, and despite HPD officers’ best effort, a number of people made it into the water.

On Tuesday, the Hamptons Municipal Board issued an order prohibiting citizens from swimming at Lake Agawam, and refuting BE / ESS claims about cyanobacteria safety.

“All fact and reason tell this governing body that cyanobacteria is, in fact, not safe,” the order explains. “We’re unsure why the federal BE / ESS is arguing otherwise, and until our independent panel of scientists and experts says something different, we will continue blocking our residents from risking life and limb to swim in it,” the Municipal Board message continues, adding, “Besides, there’s an entire, poison-free ocean just up the road. Go swimming there.”

Oddly, police say Lake Agawam was never a popular place for swimming—even before blue-green algae made it unsafe. “It’s absurd, but we’re beginning to think people are desperately trying to get into the water simply because the federal government says they can, and because local leaders oppose that view,” HPD spokesman Rex Gallant told members of the press on Wednesday. “We really don’t know why anyone would do something so stupid just to stand against local officials, but it appears that’s exactly what’s happening.”

The swimmers, on the other hand, say they’re packed cheek-by-jowl in Agawam Park to support the BE / ESS and U.S. leadership, and to shine a light on what they describe as a Municipal Board hoax.

“I grew up with fish tanks and they always had green algae growing in ‘em—and guess what? That never hurt me, so what changed?” one particularly vocal swimmer, Billy Gune Cotton said, wearing nothing but a Speedo and flip-flops as he pushed through the crowd at Lake Agawam on Tuesday. “Even the mercury thing makes perfect sense—of course it’s safe! I’ve had thermometers under my tongue or elsewhere in my body since I was a newborn. I’m 45 years old now and healthy as a horse,” Cotton added before walking away screaming, “Blah, blah, blah,” and covering his ears when people tried to explain how thermometers work.

“This entire incident is deeply concerning to both the Hamptons Police Department and the Municipal Board,” Gallant said during an exclusive interview with Dan’s Papers. “We’re hearing rumors that folks are talking about drinking the toxic lake water to prove their point, so it’s a safe bet this thing is far from settled,” the HPD spokesman continued. “We’re at a loss. Let’s just hope logic and reason prevail.”

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