Local Bodies of Water May Have Harmful Algae Blooms
Several local waterbodies have been listed with confirmed or suspicious algal blooms that may pose a health risk.
Christian Fischer | Wikimedia Commons
Update (8/1/17): As of 7/28 Lake Rippowam has been cleared from the list. The DEC updates the list weekly here.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has released an updated list of freshwater bodies containing Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs). Following the appearance of thirteen new blooms this past week, eleven locations throughout the Hudson Valley are currently being monitored, including two in Westchester County.
Cyanobacteria, better known as blue-green algae, and the related red tide can be harmful to both animals and humans due in part to toxins produced by some varieties, though even nontoxic strains can upset the local ecology.
Westchester blooms have been confirmed at Mohegan Lake and Lake Rippowam in South Salem. While the size of the latter was not reported, the Mohegan Lake bloom is listed as “open water,” which according to the DEC means:
Sample was collected near the center of the lake and may indicate that the bloom is widespread and conditions may be worse along shorelines or within recreational areas.
Local Health Departments will make notice of any closures of public beaches or drinking water concerns, but the DEC recommends that people, pets, and livestock all avoid contact with any water with green, blue-green, yellow, brown, or reddish algae scums on its surface. Should contact occur, wash the algae off with freshwater. Do not drink the water even if treated, as this may purify the water of algae but not the toxins they potentially produce. Persons experiencing vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after drinking or exposure should seek medical attention.
The DEC asks residents who suspect a bloom to submit a Suspicious Algal Bloom Form with digital photos if possible to the below address.
For more information, contact your regional Department of Environmental Conservation office or email the HABs program at HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov.