Algae Blooms Spreading in Northern End of Lake Champlain

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(Host) The Vermont Health Department says toxic blue green algae has spread in northern Lake Champlain, and the Department is warning people to avoid contact with the dangerous blooms.

The algae is fed by nutrient-rich farm runoff and other waste. State Toxicologist William Bress says that recent winds have pushed the algae out of Missisquoi Bay toward the part of the lake known as the Inland Sea.

(Bress) “Some of it has made it’s way down to North Hero where the state park is and samples taken there and test results that have come back indicated that toxin results were high enough that we recommended that the beach be shut down to swimming.”

(Host) The state recommends that people not swim or drink water from areas of the lake in the Inland Sea near Swanton, Alburg and Saint Albans. The warnings also apply to shorelines near the Route 78 bridge near Swanton, Alburg Springs and Chapman’s Bay.

The state says that common purification methods such as boiling water or chlorine treatments do not destroy the toxins formed in the algae blooms. Dogs have died from eating the algae or drinking the algae-choked water.

Bress says that the state is monitoring drinking water systems that draw water from the northern part of the lake.

(Bress) “Right now we’ve been looking, we’re monitoring Alburg Springs water supply because of some blooms have been nearby there. And we’ve also been working closely with Environmental Conservation to look at any other systems that take in water from other areas nearby.”

(Host) The blue-green algae blooms were first observed in July on the Quebec side of Missisquoi Bay. Since then, recent winds have dispersed the algae over a wider area. The state wants people who see blue-green scum on the water in areas that haven’t been posted to call their town health officer.

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