Harmful Algal Blooms

Update: After multiple reports of blue-green algae, the Tompkins County Health Department cautioned visitors today to beware contaminated water on Cayuga Lake, issuing the warning: 

"If contact occurs with suspicious blue-green algae,

  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae. Rinse dogs that may have gone in the water so they do not lick their coats. 
  • Stop using water and seek medical attention immediately if symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after drinking or having contact with blooms or untreated surface water."
The department said it is monitoring the situation, and invited reports of harmful algal blooms to HabsHotline@gmail.com

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) have apparently made another warm-weather visit to Ithaca's waters, as Taughannock Falls State Park and the Ithaca Yacht Club both suspended swimming for the time being on Tuesday, July 9, after discovering the blooms. 

On Wednesday, Tompkins County Health Department spokesperson Samantha Hillson said "It seems that potential HABs are present in Cayuga Lake."

She passed along information that could be useful to those who wish to report a potential algal bloom, which is to call the Department of Environmental Conservation hotline. Information about taking precautions regarding HABs can be found here. 

The yacht club sent this message to members:

"IYC has closed its waterfront today and until further notice. At opening today, green algal streaks in the swimming area suggested to us that harmful cyanobacteria (HABs) might be present. Upon consultation with the Tompkins County Health Department, we agreed to close the waterfront until this growth clears (24 hours at least). IYC apologizes for any inconvenience this may cause.  Please feel free to hang out on the lawn or use the sandbox on the point, but for health concerns, please stay out of the water."

The letter is signed by the IYC Waterfront Staff. 

Meanwhile, Taughannock Falls State Park posted the following message to its website:

Taughannock Falls HAB page

Employees at the State Park directed the Ithaca Times' questions to the regional office. A request for comment to the Department of Environmental Conservation has not yet been returned, and the Ithaca Yacht Club has not yet returned comment. 


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