Algal Blooms in Maine Lakes
How can I tell if my lake is safe?
It is difficult to tell if a lake is safe at any given moment because conditions can change quickly. And not all algal blooms produce toxins.
You can check this map to see if your lake blooms regularly.
Also use the following guidance:
When in doubt, stay out! If the lake looks green or cloudy, smells bad, or has scum on the surface, or you can't see the bottom in 4-5 feet of water because it is so green, do not go in. Algal scums along the shore have the highest concentrations of toxins.
Rinse thoroughly with soap and fresh water if you come in contact with a bloom. And if you shower with lake water during a bloom, keep showers brief. Breathing toxins in shower mist could cause health issues.
If you suspect a bloom, keep your pets away. There have been no confirmed cases in Maine of pets dying, however harmful algal blooms (HABs) can be a serious threat to animals. Pets are more likely than humans to drink from an impacted lake. When they groom themselves, pets can swallow toxins on their fur.
Pets should be immediately rinsed off with soap and fresh water after they come into contact with water that may be blooming or have scums, even if it is not suspected to be toxic.
Symptoms in animals appear more quickly than in humans and may include vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, difficulty breathing, convulsions physical distress, and even death.
If your pet begins to experience any of the these symptoms, please contact your local veterinarian immediately.
More information on HABs: