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Jun 24, 2016 4:49 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Brown Tide Returns in Shinnecock; Residents Warned To Avoid Old Town Pond

Jun 29, 2016 9:44 AM

Destructive algae blooms continued to spread across water bodies on the South Fork this week, emerging in western Shinnecock Bay and in Old Town Pond.

The waters of Old Town Pond in Southampton Village were stained by blue-green algae blooms, while western Shinnecock Bay faded toward coffee, light and sweet, as the infamous “brown tide” algae once again emerged just beyond the Ponquogue Bridge.

This marks the 10th year in a row that the brown tide has bloomed in western Shinnecock, and the scientists from Stony Brook University who announced its detection on Monday said its early return this year could be particularly harmful to young-of-the-year clams.

“This marks the 10th consecutive year the Moriches-Quantuck-Shinnecock Bay systems have experienced a brown tide,” said Dr. Christopher Gobler, professor of marine science at Stony Brook University. “There is no other region that has been so vulnerable to these events.”

Last week, the State Department of Environmental Conservation identified blooms of blue-green algae, the most destructive species of algae in local freshwater ponds, in Lake Agawam and Mill Pond—and this week it added Old Town Pond to the list of affected water bodies.

All three ponds have suffered chronic blooms of the blue-green algae, also called cyanobacteria, for several years.

If ingested, cyanobacteria can cause serious illness in adults and can be fatal to small children and pets.

An advisory issued by the Suffolk County Department of Health warns residents to avoid contact with surface water and keep children and pets away from any of those ponds where blooms have been identified. The blue-green algae blooms are usually a bright shade of green but can also be yellow, brown or reddish in color. The algae may also produce scum that floats on the water surface, or they may cause the water to take on a paint-like appearance.

Algae blooms in most water bodies, both tidal and freshwater, are fed by elevated nutrient levels, primarily caused by pollution from runoff and groundwater contamination from human activities. Residential septic systems and lawn and farm fertilizers have been identified by scientists as a major source of the nutrients that feed algae blooms.

Residents are asked to contact the Division of Water at the DEC at 518-402-8179 if they suspect a blue-green algae bloom in a body of water that does not have a Suffolk County-permitted bathing beach.

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This is inexcusable that these bodies of water are polluted in one of the wealthier areas in the country and nothing has been done about it. The town needs to take action immediately.


By AL (81), southampton on Jun 30, 16 5:09 AM
The development is the reason they are so polluted.
By Mr. Z (11642), North Sea on Jun 30, 16 6:27 AM
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