Beaches on Skaneateles Lake closed earlier this week due to the presence of an algal bloom have now reopened, while low-levels of toxins found in raw water samples have triggered a new plan of daily sampling and testing, the Onondaga County Health Department announced Thursday.
Clift Park and the Skaneateles Country Club beaches closed Tuesday following the appearance of a confirmed harmful algal bloom but were opened Thursday as the bloom has since dissipated.
Within the lake, raw water samples at the city of Syracuse's intake pipes showed toxins at the detection threshold of 0.3 parts per billion, while additional samples from the first treatment points in the system showed no signs of the toxin, indicating there was no impact on drinking water, according to the department.
Syracuse's intake system provides public drinking water to the city itself, the village and town of Skaneateles, the towns of Elbridge and Dewitt, and the Village of Jordan.
Now that toxins have been detected, the city will begin a daily sampling process developed by the city and Onondaga County in the wake of last year's significant blooms. Samples will then continue to be taken daily until toxins fall below a detectable level, at which point testing would return to a weekly schedule, according to Onondaga County Director of Environmental Health Lisa Letteney.
Additionally, although toxins were not detected in the treated water, the city has taken the precautionary step of increasing chlorination at different points of the intake system, Letteney said.
Letteney also recommended concerned residents frequently check the health department website, which posts testing results as soon as they are available, she said.
“Any time there's a change, we will certainly let the public know,” Letteney said.
Sampling results can be found at http://www.ongov.net/health/bluegreenalgae.html by clicking the “Water Sample Test Results” icon.