Squantz Pond Closed Due to Harmful Algae

There will be no swimming at Squantz Pond State Park in New Fairfield this weekend because of the presence of a blue-green algae that can be harmful to people and dogs.

The algae, also known as cyanobacteria, was detected during water sampling. It can emit toxins that can make swimmers and animals sick, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

People can experience irritation of the skin, nose eyes and respiratory tract. If the algae is ingested, it can lead to vomiting or diarrhea, and can even cause problems with the liver or nervous system if large amounts are ingested, according to DEEP officials.

It occurs naturally in lakes and ponds across Connecticut, but warmer temperatures combined with high levels of phosphorus can cause the algae blooms to form in the water.

"Although the issue of blue-green algae is not new, there is now more research and understanding on the toxic effects of these blooms and the public health concerns that they raise," said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee.

The DEEP will conduct further tests on the water to determine when it is safe to reopen the pond to swimming.

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