Town advises to stay clear of Stockbridge Bowl water

By Christopher McDermott

STOCKBRIDGE — Town officials advise residents, visitors and their pets to avoid contact with the water in the Stockbridge Bowl, after state testing showed the large algae blooms visible in the lake consist of toxic algae called cyanobacteria.

The town’s Board of Health voted unanimously to take the state Department of Health’s recommendation and uphold an advisory cautioning residents to avoid boating, swimming, bringing their pets out to water, or any other activities that could put them in contact with the bacteria.

James Wilusz, executive director of the Tri-Town Health Department, said that the water could remain dangerous even after the algae is no longer visible because the toxins from the algae will remain in the water for a period of time even after their source has dissipated.

“The advisory is in place until such time that we notify the public,” Wilusz said.

The water cannot be deemed to be safe until the algae blooms have dissipated and then two consecutive weeks of testing have shown the toxic organic matter to be at a level below 70,000 cells per milliliter of water, which is the state’s standard, Wilusz said.

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