Lake Boon algae/cyanobacteria update

Because a dense algae bloom appeared along the northern shoreline of Pine Point Road waterfront on September 6, a couple of “quick tests” for cyanotoxins were done by the Lake Boon Association. These were NOT the official state-sanctioned test that requires laboratory work and several days turnaround. The test at 10 am at the north end of the first basin indicated the presence of cyanotoxins. A notice was then sent out to the LBA email list including the MA information sheet on Hazardous Algae Blooms to warn folks around the lake.

Another quick test was done on a sample taken the same day at 12:30 pm at the town beach which showed no toxins present.

Subsequently, a quick test was done on September 10 at 4:00 pm at the east end of the second basin that showed no toxins present.

This type of test is unofficial, but we believe is appropriate for giving a timely warning. However, it is not appropriate to use it to indicate safe conditions. In fact, no testing can assure safe conditions throughout a water body. Conditions can change rapidly with temperatures, sunlight, wind/wave speed and direction. Residents must use their own judgment.

The Mass DPH recommendation is to require two official negative cyanobacteria tests a week apart (plus testing time) to open a swimming beach that has been closed. But we are not aware of Stow or Nashoba Boards of Health doing any testing or closing the beach. The life guarded swimming season is over so they have less responsibility.

Again, residents must use their own judgment about swimming, etc. based largely on appearance of the water. If cyanobacteria are present the highest risk is to small children and pets that may ingest lake water. Dogs have died from this in Massachusetts.

There is information on cyanobacteria and the quick test being used by the LBA at
https://www.mass.gov/doc/harmful-algae-blooms-in-fresh-water-bodies-english-0/download
and https://www.5strands.com/products/blue-green-algae-water-test.

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