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HAB

A suspected harmful algal bloom reported in Cayuga Lake in Seneca County, as shown by the state Department of Environmental Conservation's HABs map.

Widespread harmful algal blooms have been reported on Cayuga Lake, the Cayuga County Health Department announced Wednesday.

The suspected blooms are "anticipated to continue due to the warm weather expected," according to a press release, and have triggered drinking water testing protocols for the system that supplies the Aurora area in Cayuga County.

Cayuga Lake is the water source for the Wells College campus and residents of the village of Aurora, but the water is treated through the Wells College water treatment facility.

"The water operator at the treatment plant has been routinely monitoring for the presence of algae in the water entering the plant and will continue to do so," according to the release.

The CCHD said there was no evidence of algae in the raw water intake at the plant as of Wednesday morning, since the location of the intake is further out on the lake and not near the shore. 

The public drinking water will be sampled by the New York State Department of Health Wednesday, and the results will be posted on the county health department website under the page for harmful algae. The CCHD anticipates that the results will be in late tomorrow.

Because of the presence of algae, the Wells College dock was closed on Tuesday, according to the village of Aurora website. Staff at Long Point Beach State Park south of the village said the beach there was also closed because of algae, and the state's public beach report said that Taughannock Falls State Park beach also was shut down.

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Camp Caspar Gregory's beach on the shore of Cayuga Lake in Aurora is also closed, the CCHD said.

The CCHD encouraged the public to report algal blooms, which discolor bodies of water with a "paint-like or filmy appearance or floating scum," but avoid going near the potentially harmful algae. It also advises against drinking water drawn to private properties directly from the lake, even for houses with in-home treatment systems.

Members of the public can report blooms with a reporting feature on the Harmful Algal Bloom map from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

On Wednesday afternoon, the map showed three active suspicious blooms on Cayuga Lake, all off Seneca shoreline across the lake from Aurora. A suspicious bloom has also been reported on Little Sodus Bay in Fair Haven.

The CCHD said the operator at the water treatment center, the City of Auburn and the Town of Owasco has been monitoring the raw water every morning since July 1 and will continue to do so until the end of the season for harmful algal blooms around November.

The blooms on Cayuga Lake are the first widespread cases to be reported in the Cayuga County area in 2019. The first cases a year ago also were on Cayuga Lake in early July.

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