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AUBURN — Officials have closed the beach at the Owasco Yacht Club and Firelane 12A East after the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found a harmful algal bloom in Owasco Lake. 

According to the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program, samples of the algae bloom were taken Wednesday and delivered to the SUNY College of Environment Science and Forestry in Syracuse for species confirmation and toxin results. And although the level of toxins was below detection limits, both the Cayuga County Department of Health and the DEC believe the blooms still present a risk.

"We've had reports of algae from all over the lake in the past couple of days," Watershed Inspector Tim Schneider said. "The good news is the blooms we tested were not toxic, but there is still a chance they could become toxic."

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People and pets should avoid contact with blue-green algae, Schneider said. Symptoms of exposure can include skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions and — in rare cases — death. 

To report an algae bloom on Owasco Lake, fill out an inspection form at owascoinspection.org

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