This is a heads-up for all my friends, neighbors, and fellow residents of Berkshire County. The city of Pittsfield, along with the Mayor's Office, has reached out to alert us about a public health advisory regarding Pontoosuc Lake. We're helping to spread the word.

Apparently, it's that time of year when the blue-green algae known as Cyanobacteria can start to "bloom". That means, due to warmer water temperatures and higher nutrient concentrations, there is an abundant increase in the presence of Cyanobacteria.

According to the city of Pittsfield, recent algae tests confirm the presence of Cyanobacteria which may present harmful health effects for users of Pontoosuc Lake. When this happens, a public health advisory is issued which is also recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Health.

A public health advisory pretty much means that the water at Pontoosuc poses a threat to people and pets. Warning signs have been posted around the lake, but just in case:

  • Do not swim
  • Do not swallow water
  • Keep animals away
  • Rinse yourself off if you come into contact with the water

The following health outcomes are of concern:

  • Irritation of the skin, eyes, or ears
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nerve or liver problems in extreme cases

Pontoosuc Lake will be regularly monitored until the algae bloom dissipates. The public will be notified when this eventually happens. The health advisory will not be lifted until two successive samples(taken a week apart) demonstrate toxin levels are below state guideline values.

For more information, you are always welcome to contact the Pittsfield Health Department at 413-499-9411.

LOOK: Here are the best lake towns to live in

Many of the included towns jump out at the casual observer as popular summer-rental spots--the Ozarks' Branson, Missouri, or Arizona's Lake Havasu--it might surprise you to dive deeper into some quality-of-life offerings beyond the beach and vacation homes. You'll likely pick up some knowledge from a wide range of Americana: one of the last remaining 1950s-style drive-ins in the Midwest; a Florida town that started as a Civil War veteran retirement area; an island boasting some of the country's top public schools and wealth-earners right in the middle of a lake between Seattle and Bellevue; and even a California town containing much more than Johnny Cash's prison blues.

LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America

Every beach town has its share of pluses and minuses, which got us thinking about what makes a beach town the best one to live in. To find out, Stacker consulted data from WalletHub, released June 17, 2020, that compares U.S. beach towns. Ratings are based on six categories: affordability, weather, safety, economy, education and health, and quality of life. The cities ranged in population from 10,000 to 150,000, but they had to have at least one local beach listed on TripAdvisor. Read the full methodology here. From those rankings, we selected the top 50. Readers who live in California and Florida will be unsurprised to learn that many of towns featured here are in one of those two states.

Keep reading to see if your favorite beach town made the cut.

LOOK: See the iconic cars that debuted the year you were born

The 100 Best Places to Live on the East Coast

More From WUPE