LEA does routine monitoring on lakes in ponds in our service area throughout the year. One component of water quality that we look at is concentrations of a pigment called phycocyanin. Phycocyanin is a pigment found in blue-green algae (aka cyanobacteria). Thankfully we have very low levels of phycocyanin in the Lakes Region and so we are unlikely to have health issues related to blue-green algae in our area right now. LEA’s water testing team visits many lakes within our service area bi-weekly and we visit the other lakes in our service area annually. Our familiarity with lakes and ponds within the Lakes Region enables us to notice if a concerning algae bloom is occurring. If we observed or found a concern, we would notify the public and our members.
Often, algae blooms turn out to be metaphyton, which looks like green cotton candy-like clouds floating under the water. Metaphyton is not considered a health issue. However, if you are near water that looks visibly green from algae, you should be cautious about swimming in it or allowing your pets near the water. The blue-green algae that we are most concerned about is usually well mixed in the water column and does not look like small green clouds of floating cotton candy. To help you determine if the algae in front of your property is blue-green algae or not, scoop some up in a jar, put the lid on, and let it settle for several hours. Harmful algae (cyanobacteria/ blue-green algae) will often float to the top after settling. If you are concerned that you are seeing a blue-green algae bloom on your lake or pond, please contact our offices at 207-647-8580 or report your algae bloom to the Maine DEP
Further information about algae blooms can be found on the Maine DEP’s Algae Webpage