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Aug 26, 2015 10:31 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sagg Pond Closed To Swimming After Dangerous Algae Is Detected

Aug 26, 2015 1:24 PM

The Southampton Town Trustees have ordered Sagg Pond, or Sagaponack Pond, closed to all crabbing, fishing and swimming immediately, after water tests revealed that a dense bloom of potentially toxic algae has blossomed in the pond's waters.

A memo from the Trustees to other local municipal agencies said that the Trustees had been alerted to the algae bloom on Tuesday by scientists from Stony Brook University who are doing water testing in numerous ponds and water bodies around the South Fork.

"It's at very high levels," Christopher Gobler, Ph.D, said in a phone interview on Wednesday morning. "[Sagg Pond] joins a pretty extensive list of places in Southampton and East Hampton that are experiencing these harmful algal blooms."

Dr. Gobler leads the team of scientists that are conducting water monitoring in 40 ponds and bays around Long Island and have been tracking the various harmful algae blooms that have plagued the area in recent years.

The species of blue-green algae detected in the pond can pose health risks to humans and pets if ingested. The toxin the algae emits naturally, called microcystin, can cause severe gastrointestinal illness. In 2012 a dog died after it was believed to have drank water from Georgica Pond in East Hampton that contained blue-green algae.

Earlier this month the East Hampton Town Trustees also banned crabbing and fishing in Georgica Pond, 3.5 miles east of Sagg Pond, because of dense blue-green algae blooms. Georgica Pond experienced a similar bloom last year but this is the first time that Sagg Pond has seen a bloom dense enough to warrant public health advisories or activity closures.

Both closures have been posted as in effect until further notice.

On Monday, contractors working for the Southampton Trustees dug open the "cut" between Sagg Pond and the ocean to let freshwater flow out of the pond but sand quickly clogged the opening and stanched the flow after only a few hours.

"That would certainly be a good temporary solution," Dr. Gobler said of opening the ponds to the ocean. "It helps in two ways: it flushes out the freshwater, and we just completed a series of lab experiments that show when you douse [blue-green] algae with saltwater they just disappear. So I would definitely encourage them to do that."

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Thank you to all the town planners and 'preservationists' for allowing this to happen and for making it impossible to enjoy the area we live in anymore. Now we literally have nothing.
By johnj (1017), Westhampton on Aug 26, 15 10:46 AM
"Now we literally have nothing"

Umm... Sagaponack Pond was the last piece of the puzzle? Really? We don't have our oceans and our bays anymore? Where did they go?

Btw, do you know what this place would be like if it WEREN'T for the "planners" and "preservationists"?

Also, to assume that the algal bloom is 100% correlated to development and land use in the past 20 years is foolish. There are many factors involved.

By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 26, 15 11:26 AM
Oh you are ruining his hysteria.
By Preliator Lives (429), Obamavillie on Aug 26, 15 1:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
Won't be long until we'll be unable to swim in our bays and oceans either. Welcome to Malibu East.
By johnj (1017), Westhampton on Aug 26, 15 3:54 PM
Nature - Please list the other factors you feel are involved.
By bird (817), Sag Harbor on Aug 26, 15 7:37 PM
The lack of rain this summer

Ocean currents/tides which have prevented breaching of the seapoose (strip of land between the pond and the ocean)

Warm summer temperatures

Resident Geese and Swans which deposit large amounts of waste into the waterway

It's hard to blame runoff from surrounding homes/farms when there has been so little rain this year. Blue-green algae occurs naturally in freshwater systems and a number of factors (like those listed above) produce ...more
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Aug 27, 15 9:39 AM
1 member liked this comment
As if their lawns rely on rainwater to keep them green. Wake up man!
By johnj (1017), Westhampton on Aug 27, 15 11:48 AM
yeah the water will be too freakin COLD! Ignorance is bliss
By bigfresh (4548), north sea on Aug 26, 15 4:00 PM
By yassar arafar (33), sag harbor on Aug 26, 15 7:31 PM
We can start deporting wealthy landowners who pollute our bays from over fertilization on their homes, golf courses and polo fields
By GoldenBoy (346), EastEnd on Aug 26, 15 7:41 PM
If this continues on Kellis pond in Bridgehampton will end up being the same way after a new zoning is for the development of the Konner property. How can the town not think that more sanitary flow won't cause the same problem there.
Great Equinox gym times 30,000 sft and showers and toilets.
Yeah that won't hurt the pond in the future.....
By H2O (85), easthampton on Aug 26, 15 9:47 PM
Well,I guess it's OK, as long as the people who built on the pond have greener lawns, less insects, and a general sense of well-being
By Lets go mets (377), Southampton on Aug 26, 15 11:58 PM
it never rains out here in the summer

easy job for the weatherman
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Aug 27, 15 12:45 PM
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