The Price of Pollution – Lower Property Values and Poor Quality of Life

Blue-green algae is pictured at Georgia Shore last summer. Courtesy Milton Independent

Blue-green algae is pictured at Georgia Shore last summer. Courtesy Milton Independent

Two recent articles provide great examples of how poor water quality, specifically due to algae blooms, reduces property values and general quality of life on the lake.

The short message – focus on water quality on a daily basis to avoid long term pollution issues. Eliminate phosphorous, reduce runoff, maintain your trees and shoreline buffer

Phosphorus is the leading cause of excessive algae in most Maine lakes. Phosphorus is a nutrient. It supports plant life and algae in lakes, but when there is an excess it acts like a fertilizer and can result in huge algal growths, or blooms. When the algae cells die, it depletes oxygen levels in the water, and can lead to anoxic, or zero oxygen, conditions that kill off fish and other organisms. A bloom can degrade water clarity to about two meters.

Georgia, VT – The Price of Pollution

Algae cuts lake front property values by $1.7M in Georgia VT on Lake Champlain

Georgia’s contracted assessor Bill Hinman decreased 34 lakefront property values along Georgia Shore’s Ferrand Road in early July 2015 due to water quality issues, namely the nefarious presence of blue-green algae. Read the full Milton Independent story here

Belgrade Lakes – Water Quality Down

If not reversed, the trend could lead to serious water quality issues and algae blooms in as few as 10 years.

To the naked eye, there’s nothing wrong with the deep, cool waters of the chain of seven lakes and ponds collectively known as the Belgrade Lakes. For most of the summer, the lakes are pristine, enjoyed by legions of summer residents and visitors who come up to swim, boat and fish in the waters nestled between the Kennebec Highlands.

But potential problems underneath the surface have local conservation groups worried about the future. A recent analysis indicates that water quality on the lakes is on a downward trend, and if not reversed, could lead to serious water quality issues and widespread algae blooms in as few as 10 years. And as the summer progresses, there are times that when you are standing up to your waist in water, you couldn’t see your feet.

If not addressed through reduced use of phosphorous and limiting runoff, costs to remediate the situation can run $80,000 per year.

Read the full Portland Press Herald story here.

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