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Water pollution can lead to devaluation of lakeside properties, P.1

Water pollution can have a number of negative effects, including loss of wildlife, health concerns, and loss of natural resources. The impact of any of these effects is obviously greater the more people had been making use and taking advantage of the contaminated water source. Another potential effect of water contamination, and one that can be particularly costly for those affected, is property devaluation.

Water pollution, when it affects lakeside properties, can end up drastically reducing the value of property. That is exactly what is happening for property owners in the Vermont town of Georgia. The problem there seems to be that accumulated runoff from paved roads, farms, sewage plants and other sources has brought in an excess of phosphorus, which has fostered growth of blue green algae.

Blue-green algae gets its color from specific bacterial growth, and can be dangerous for humans and animals since its byproducts can be toxic. For this reason, recreational waters where blue-green algae is spotted are typically closed to prevent the public from being exposed. When blue-green algae appears in residential waters, then, it is a serious concerns for locals, and not only for health reasons. Property values can suffer.

And, indeed, property valuations in the Vermont town have significantly decreased since the appearance of the blue-green algae, making it difficult for folks to sell. Authorities there have said that there is a rough difference of 25 percent in property values between lakeside property where the blue-green algae is not seen and properties where it is.

In our next post, we’ll continue speaking about this topic, and whether there is anything residents can do to protect themselves when water pollution occurs in lakeside properties leads to property devaluation. 

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