WCAI: ‘I Felt Like I Was Poisoned’; Toxic Cyanobacteria Blooms Imperil Region’s Ponds

by | Oct 20, 2020 | News

A sign by the public entrance of Chilmark Pond warns of a toxic cyanobacteria bloom on On Sept. 11, 2020.
EVE ZUCKOFF

In early August, carpenter Michael Forgione told his mother that he was heading out to go crabbing in the brackish waters of Chilmark Pond on Martha’s Vineyard. Carol Forgione, a 72-year-old nurse practitioner, wished him a good catch. “This is the pond,” she said on a recent visit. “This is the entrance that he went into. And then the public entrance is just down the road.”

Michael, 49, who splits his time between Costa Rica and Edgartown, said he waded out about knee-deep. Within three hours, he fell seriously ill.

‘Poisoned’
“When you’re crabbing, you’re usually just up to the middle of your calves. So it’s not like it’s that much water,” he said. “But I felt the effects of it, let’s say, within an hour of being out there.”

Michael said he grew so tired, he lay down in a dinghy to take a nap.

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