After Unsightly Algae Bloom, Vermont Lake Launches New Remedy

Lake Carmi hopes an aeration system will help it avoid another serious outbreak of cyanobacteria

Advocates for clean water celebrated a new effort in northern Vermont, in a lake where the state previously declared an environmental crisis. The work in Lake Carmi is aimed at cutting blooms of blue-green algae, which can quickly put the brakes on summer fun.

A roughly million-dollar network of aeration tubes is believed to be the largest in the nation, and was designed to change deep-water lake chemistry enough so phosphorous won’t be released from the sediment at the bottom of Carmi.

Phosphorous feeds cyanobacteria, a thick scum often known as blue-green algae that has long plagued the lake.

“I see happiness at Lake Carmi,” said seasonal resident Larry Myott, referring to the bubbles now coming up from the bottom of the lake from the aeration system.

Myott’s happiness follows an unsightly and potentially toxic explosion in 2017 of cyanobacteria. The long-lived bloom that year not only raised concerns over the effect on property values, but also created a noxious stench which people who love Carmi can describe in just one word.

“Disgusting” was the description of blue-green algae from Lisa Smith of Enosburgh, who enjoys visiting the beach at Lake Carmi State Park with her family. “And we don’t come here when it does that. We can’t enjoy the lake at all when it does that.”

Julie Moore, the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, told necn the state is optimistic all those tiny bubbles from the aeration system will have a big impact in turning around the crisis at Carmi.

“It gives the watershed a continued opportunity to heal and will provide some immediate relief to people who love to recreate in and on Lake Carmi,” Moore said.

“We all understand that there still may be another bloom, but hopefully not another bloom like we’ve had in the past,” Myott observed.

The underwater bubblers are just part of the attack on cyanobacteria in Lake Carmi. A lot of work is also underway in the area to reduce phosphorous pollution running off from farms and roads.

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