Norm Needleman


Norm Needleman



July 27, 2021

Senator Needleman Joins East Hampton Officials to Tour Lake Pocotopaug, Receive Update on Cyanobacteria Blooms

Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined East Hampton officials including Town Manager David Cox, Town Council Chairman Peter Brown and Parks and Recreation Director Jeremy Hall to tour Lake Pocotopaug, which has been the site of recent Cyanobacteria blooms. The presence of the Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, in the water required the temporary closure of the public swim area at Sears Park earlier this month. Sen. Needleman received updates on the state of the lake, which last week was reopened for swimming with a warning about the condition of the water. During the bloom, the water remained well below conditions that could cause concern for human health, meaning no members of the public were at risk, but the algae still disrupted local recreation in the heat of July.

The Chatham Health District has continually monitored conditions to ensure public safety and allow for a safe reopening of the swim area. It also noted that the lake’s current conditions are favorable to further the spread of Cyanobacteria; residents are encouraged to observe water before using the lake, and are recommended to avoid contacting water with a noxious odor, appearing green, or having mats, films or scums accumulating on the surface.

“Our lakes in Middlesex County are one of our greatest natural resources,” said Sen. Needleman, “and today’s tour was very encouraging, as our communities have leaders and volunteers who are eager and ready to take action against Cyanobacteria and other threats that could cause interruptions to summer fun like swimming and boating. The continued hard work put in place to protect Lake Pocotopaug is reassuring and I’m grateful that such dedication is being shown toward our natural resources.”

Cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae, are a form of algae that can have negative health outcomes for both the safety and security of a lake and life nearby. Common in summer, the bacteria can pose a threat to human and animal health, and can quickly grow in a body of water creating blooms on water surfaces and along shorelines.

East Hampton has invested in a three-part plan to preserve the lake. These include a watershed plan focused on reducing or eliminating nutrient-loading into Lake Poctopoaug to limit the potential spread of cyanobacteria, with numerous projects completed and in development to secure the safety of the body of water. Second, the town is also focusing on nutrients already in the lake that can assist a cyanobacteria surge, installing aerating infusers to keep the lake oxidized, and is using a “BioBlast” treatment, an organic product, that spreads beneficial bacteria throughout the lake that can compete with and reduce the frequency of such blooms. Third, the Lake Smart program and several seminars held each year focus on public education on how to better protect natural bodies of water like Lake Pocotopaug. Members of the public can also access information through town websites and resources to learn how they can help fight blue-green algae blooms and keep the lake safe.