In Franklin, VT, a tiny town not far from the Canadian border, Lake Carmi is where residents go swimming, sail and enjoy the last bit of summer. Not this year, however. A virulent outbreak of cyanobacteria, a nasty blue-green algae, has taken over Lake Carmi and some have said it's the worst they have seen in decades. Signs prohibiting swimming are posted, with warnings that the water is unsafe.
The algae can bloom when temperatures are warming, however, there is concern that phosphorus run-off from nearby farms is the primary cause. Residents have spoken with state agriculture officials who say that land use regulations recently enacted should help the problem, but will take time. Owners of summer camps in the area are angry because they can no longer enjoy the lake. Some draw water from it, and that option is out now since the algae can become toxic. The smell is another factor, with lakefront residents and visitors saying that some days they have to close their windows to keep out the stench. Other lakes in the state are having issues as well, and Governor Scott's office is looking into other solutions to solve the growing problem.