NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — East Hampton has gotten a new tool to fight a nagging pollution problem.

Town officials hope an algae eating machine will help clean a beloved public pond.

As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, the water borne machine was an unusual sight trundling its way through the once again algae polluted waters at Georgica pond in East Hampton.

“This is like a floating combine tractor that captures the micro algae,” East Hampton trustee Rick Drew said.

Local residents calling themselves friends of Georgica Pond raised more than $80,000 to rent the machine after discovering toxic blue-green algae had once again made the pond virtually unusable for recreation.

“The pond is so polluted you can’t go kayaking, you can’t go paddleboarding, you can’t go crabbing, you can’t go fishing, you can’t go sailing,” Drew said.

You can’t go swimming either. Four-years-ago, a dog died after licking the pond’s algae tainted waters which can also make people very sick.

Town trustees blamed exploding development of large mansions with leaking septic tanks. They also questioned the overuse of sprinklers to keep expansive lawns ultra green while introducing exotic foreign shrubs and bushes to the landscape.

“As you irrigate your lawn, you put down more fertilizer, so you’re putting down more nitrogen. Now, you’re planting non-native species that require more fertilizer and more nitrogen, so it’s a vicious cycle,” Drew said.

Some residents who came to see the pond’s condition said their neighbors need to be more responsible.

“I think it’s a travesty what’s happening to our environment. There are people who make their living off the pond, like the baymen who have been here since 1648,” David Lys said.

The floating machine is now scooping up all the nitrogen fed vegetation that clogs the pond to be taken to a compost facility.

The algae eating machine will be used through September when backers will decide whether it has helped reverse the continues cycle of algae blooms.

Suffolk County is considering legislation that would require upgraded environmentally sensitive septic systems when homes are sold or transferred.



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