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Coventry Lake closed due to algae bloom

Coventry Lake closed due to algae bloom

A health advisory has been issued for the lake due to a blue-green algae bloom. Neighbors say they’re saddened summer on the lake is paused for at least 3 weeks.

COVENTRY, Conn — Summer on Coventry Lake is paused until potentially mid-August after a bloom of blue-green algae was detected.

The Eastern Highlands Health District issued an advisory Friday for people to avoid coming in contact with the water. That means no swimming or water sports at the popular summer destination.

“It’s an emptiness. You want to feel able to go there anytime you want to. We have a pontoon we want to enjoy,” Karen Roberts said. 

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Roberts has lived at the lake for five years but spent decades trying to find the perfect home prior to her move. She says people come to the area for the lake and not being able to utilize it during the summer is disappointing.

Michael Burokas has lived on the lake for more than two decades. This is the first time the lake has had a bloom like this. Burokas says the lake won’t be the same until it’s safe again.

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“There’d probably be 25 boats out there right now tied up, people swimming, enjoying the lake and there’d be another 10, 15 boats running around water skiing, tubing,” he said. “We’re just going to have to wait it out, see what happens so hopefully next year will be a better year.”

Town Manager John Elsesser posted on Facebook they have been watching this bloom since last summer and it survived the warmer winter and continued to grow. He said there are treatments but the chemicals could harm other natural organisms in the water and the permit process would take too long.

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He said it can take weeks to go away and it may not be until mid-August when people can safely swim again.

“You can still enjoy the lake looking at it. Taking a boat ride and things like that but water skiing, swimming, stuff like that… that’s out,” Burokas said. 

The Coventry neighbor said the water isn’t as clear as it’s been in previous years. 

Signs posted around the lake warn of potential health risks that could come with entering the water like irritation to the eyes, skin, or ears, gastrointestinal problems, muscle cramps, and possible nerve or liver problems. Pets are also strongly discouraged from going in or drinking the water.

Rowing, sailing, paddle boarding, and other water activities that do not involve getting in are considered a moderate risk due to the bacteria. Swimming is not allowed at town beaches and people could face fines if they do. Patriots Park and Lisicke Beach are still open.

As the heat wave continues in Connecticut, neighbors are sad they can’t cool off in their backyard.

“We love living on the lake. It’s unfortunate this happened this year but we’re just going to have to suck it up a little bit,” Burokas said.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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