Alert! Pittsfield Issues Strong Health Advisory Regarding Pontoosuc Lake
This is a heads-up for all my friends, neighbors, and fellow residents of Berkshire County. The city of Pittsfield, along with the Mayor's Office, has reached out to alert us about a public health advisory regarding Pontoosuc Lake. We're helping to spread the word.
Apparently, it's that time of year when the blue-green algae known as Cyanobacteria can start to "bloom". That means, due to warmer water temperatures and higher nutrient concentrations, there is an abundant increase in the presence of Cyanobacteria.
According to the city of Pittsfield, recent algae tests confirm the presence of Cyanobacteria which may present harmful health effects for users of Pontoosuc Lake. When this happens, a public health advisory is issued which is also recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Health.
A public health advisory pretty much means that the water at Pontoosuc poses a threat to people and pets. Warning signs have been posted around the lake, but just in case:
- Do not swim
- Do not swallow water
- Keep animals away
- Rinse yourself off if you come into contact with the water
The following health outcomes are of concern:
- Irritation of the skin, eyes, or ears
- Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Muscle cramps
- Nerve or liver problems in extreme cases
Pontoosuc Lake will be regularly monitored until the algae bloom dissipates. The public will be notified when this eventually happens. The health advisory will not be lifted until two successive samples(taken a week apart) demonstrate toxin levels are below state guideline values.
For more information, you are always welcome to contact the Pittsfield Health Department at 413-499-9411.