The DEC earlier this week added Song Lake to its list with blue-green algae, confirming a report of a small, localized outbreak spotted last weekend.
Don’t go into or drink water that’s discolored by algae, and keep the pets away.People should suspect that harmful blue-green algae blooms could be present in water that is noticeably discolored or that has surface scums. Colors might include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown, purple, white, or red. Water affected by harmful blue-green algal blooms often is so strongly colored that it can have a paint-like appearance. When it comes to drinking water, unpleasant tastes or odors are not reliable indicators of blue-green algal toxins, or other toxic substances.
Some blue-green algae can produce toxins, some do not. However, exposure to any blue-green algae blooms can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled.
According to the New York State Department of Health exposures to high levels of blue-green algae and their toxins can cause diarrhea, nausea or vomiting; skin, eye or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.
- What should I do if I suspect a bloom?
Be able to identify suspicious blooms so you can avoid them.
- Avoid it. People, pets, and livestock should avoid areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.
- Never drink it. Never drink untreated surface water. Even if you treat it in your home with water filtration, chlorine, ultraviolet (UV) light, or other treatment; its still may not protected from blue-green algae and toxins.
- Report it. Provide information about suspicious blooms to HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov, your local health department, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Provide information about bloom-related symptoms to your local health department, or email@example.com.
Tips for protecting pets, livestock from deadly blue-green algae
Blue-green algae is returning to the New York waterways and poses a deadly risk to humans as well as animals. Karyn Bischoff, toxicologist at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, explains the dangers and advises livestock and pet owners to be vigilant in avoiding contaminated areas.
Bischoff partnered with New York Sea Grant to create a guide for pet owners on how to spot contaminated waters, how to report blooms to officials and what to do if your dog comes in contact:
Bischoff says: Prevention is the best protection for animals. Do everything you can to stop them from accessing contaminated water.