OWASCO — Officials have confirmed the presence of a toxic blue-green algae bloom on Owasco Lake, the Cayuga County Health Department said Thursday.
In a press release, the Health Department said a sample collected near Martin Point had elevated levels of toxins, which can pose a health risk to people and animals.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation also found blue-green algae at two locations on the northeast side of Owasco Lake: the Owasco Yacht Club and Firelane 12A East. The bathing beach on the Owasco Yacht Club has since reopened. According to Tim Schneider, the watershed inspector for the Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program, those blooms were not toxic at the time they were tested; however, there is still a chance the algae could become toxic.
"As routine sampling occurs on Owasco Lake, it is likely we will see more confirmations of blue-green algae," said Eileen O'Connor, the director of environmental health at the county health department.
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People and pets should avoid contact with surface water that is discolored with a paint-like or filmy appearance or floating scum. Symptoms of exposure can include skin irritation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and — in rare cases — death.
For more information, visit www.cayugacounty.us/environmental.