Toxic Ponds: The Struggle to Protect Public Health | CAI

Toxic Ponds: The Struggle to Protect Public Health

Toxic algae blooms are growing in ponds across the region and towns are struggling to deal with the problem. CAI's Eve Zuckoff reports on the topic in this special series, Toxic Ponds: The Struggle to Protect Public Health.

Gerald Beetham; Association to Preserve Cape Cod

 

1. What does a cyanobacteria bloom look like? 

Often, cyanobacteria blooms can look like bright green paint on the water’s surface. They’re also described as looking like pea soup, but colors can range from blue, to brown, to red, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Association to Preserve Cape Cod

 As CAI reported this week, algal blooms in local ponds can be dangerous to humans and animals. They are also a sign of a bigger problem; pollution from human sources like septic systems and more recently, the effects of climate change.  CAI's Kathryn Eident talked with Climate and Environment reporter Eve Zuckoff about some of the key things she learned in reporting about cyanobacteria blooms and how to tackle the problem.  

Eve Zuckoff

Part Three of a three-part series

Biologist Karen Malkus’s laboratory in the Barnstable Town Offices features a marble vanity with a mirror framed by light bulbs.

“It used to be …  the ladies’ room, which is now converted into the lab,” she said recently.  

Eve Zuckoff

Part Two of a three-part series

On a rainy Monday morning in Mashpee, ecologist Kevin Johnson balances on one foot while trying to pull on a pair of waders.

“I'll wade out … around knee- to waist-deep and take my sample there,” he said.

Eve Zuckoff

In early August, carpenter Michael Forgione told his mother that he was heading out to go crabbing in the brackish waters of Chilmark Pond on Martha’s Vineyard. Carol Forgione, a 72-year-old nurse practitioner, wished him a good catch.