Update: Myers Park has reopened as of Wednesday night, July 17.
Original: Due to the rapid presence of Harmful Algae Blooms (HABs) in Myers Park, the Town of Lansing has closed down the park’s beach and the gate to Salt Point in an effort to prevent exposure to the harmful plant.
Ed LaVigne said Recreation Supervisor Pat Tyrrell contacted the town’s lifeguards to close off the beach to the risky swimming conditions.
“Our top priority is to the safety of residents,” LaVigne said. He said he is uncertain when the beach and gate to Salt Point will be reopened, but that it will only be opened once the town receives clearance from the Tompkins County Health Department.
Swimming at Salt Point is unauthorized, regardless of the presence of the blue-green algae. Residents are permitted to swim at their own risk in the waters at Myers Park, although LaVigne said he would be highly cautious of doing so.
The county’s health department said it is safe to swim in areas where the blue-green algae is not present. However, if one comes in contact with the blue-green algae, the individual should do the following:
• 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 making contact with blooms or untreated surface water.
Myers Park is not the only location in the county that HABs have been spotted at. HABs have been identified along the shores of Cayuga Lake, according to Samantha Hillson, spokesperson for the Tompkins County Health Department. Taughannock Falls State Park and the Ithaca Yacht Club have suspended swimming at their locations due to the presence of HABs, the Ithaca Times reported.
The Ithaca Yacht Club issued the following statement:
“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 county’s health department said it is monitoring the situation. The department encouraged individuals to report HABs to HabsHotline@gmail.com.