What Was That Stuff?

Ossipee—August 7, 2022—The staff of Green Mountain Conservation Group (GMCG) took the calls on Wednesday morning. Lake residents were reporting a floating mass of something nasty-looking off the shore near the mouth of the Bearcamp River.

Massive, black and slimy, said the reports. Kind of bubbly, but no odor detected, a positive sign.

DES was alerted, but GMCG’s Water Quality Coordinator Jill Emerson was closer to the site and sprinted to have the first look.

Later, she and DES drew the same conclusion: natural foam. Nothing to worry about.

In an email to Ossipee Lake Alliance, Emerson said recent heavy rains may have been the culprit. The rains could have pulled organic material from the river banks and shoreline into the water. The heavier the rain, the more material in the lake, creating a dramatic effect.

The easiest way to tell if foam is natural is to smell it, she said. If it has a brown tinge and smells earthy, it’s most likely natural. If it’s white and smells earthy, it’s probably natural. If it’s white and smells like detergent, it’s likely soap bubbles, which don’t migrate very far from the source.

[For a video on foam, follow this link].

Emerson said what she observed didn’t look black or feel slimy, as initial reports suggested. That leaves open the possibility, however remote, that what she observed was different from what others had seen.

What’s important, she said, is taking quick action to make a report, as was done last week.

If you see something unusual in the lake, try to get a good picture of it, try to capture the GPS coordinates, and call DES or GMCG as soon as possible to report it, Emerson advised.


  1. Steve Foley 2 years ago August 7, 2022

    Thank you, OLA and concerned citizens for “seeing something and reporting it”.

  2. Robert G Gendreau 2 years ago August 8, 2022

    Thank You for the information.

  3. Patricia Riker 2 years ago August 8, 2022

    Nice to know you are ON IT!! Thanks


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