Popular New Jersey Lake Infected With Toxic Bacteria Bloom
NEW JERSEY — August 4, 2018
Health officials are warning people to stay out of Monmouth County's largest lake due to high bacteria levels.
It's the second summer in a row that high bacteria levels have restricted access to Deal Lake.
The strange bloom was seen last week, leading scientists to take water samples which revealed the unsafe levels, according to Monmouth County health officer Chris Merkel.
"We are advising people not to recreate in Deal Lake," Merkel said on Monday. "That includes paddle boarding, canoeing, anything where you have contact with the water, and nobody should be eating any fish out of the lake.”
He added that more testing will be conducted on the 158-acre man-made lake to determine if it's safe to reopen.
The bloom is not actually algae, but cyanobacteria — one of the oldest life forms on Earth, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is produced by contaminated storm-water and high temperatures. The bacteria can produce toxins that are poisonous to humans and animals that come into contact with it.
The county will be performing regular tests on coastal lakes in August. Health department staff is searching for the presence of cyanobacteria in order to quickly identify flashes of water degradation in places where residents go for fun in the summer, Merkel said.
This is not the first recorded case.
Last year, the blooms were confirmed in both Deal Lake and Fletcher Lake to the south.