KINGSTON, N.H. — Country Pond is no longer safe for swimming.
State officials are urging the public to stay out of the water, after cyanobacteria blooms were discovered by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
The agency routinely looks for cyanobacteria blooms, or bacteria, in all public bodies of water during the summer, but this is the first time the harmful bacteria blooms were discovered in Kingston.
Cyanobacteria blooms form when bright sunshine and excess phosphorus combine. Contact with or ingestion of the blue-green algae can lead to skin irritation, nausea, vomiting and in severe cases, damage to the liver and central nervous system.
DES spokesman Jim Martin said it isn't just Kingston residents who should be cautious. The 255-acre pond also stretches into Newton, so residents there may want to think twice about jumping in the pond.
"Generally, the warning is for the entire water body," he said. "If it's not a really large water body, then I would say yes, it applies throughout the water, because these blooms are not something you can say are only going to cover a small piece of the water body."
The state has six bodies of water that are unsafe for swimming because of cyanobacteria, and two of them are in Kingston.
On July 24, state health officials urged residents to stay out of Halfmoon Pond because of cyanobacteria. That warning has not been lifted. Martin said the water is tested almost daily for blooms.
This isn't the first time cyanobacteria blooms were found in Country Pond. Last July, the blooms were discovered on the Newton side of the pond and the town's beach remained closed for about a month.