What Now? and What Next?

What Now? and What Next?

The SLA has received many inquiries via our website and our board members have been asked directly “now that we have had this harmful algal bloom what do we do now and what do we do next?”.  Our board along with other stakeholders have spent considerable time since the harmful bloom was first identified consulting with and getting information from government agencies and science experts.  At the invitation of the Falcone Family the SLA organized a forum of governmental agency representatives and scientists to develop a 3 phase action plan with the intent to also work closely with the city and county to develop the watershed plan for Skaneateles Lake.

For the future, the SLA is collaborating with ESF and helping to support ESF’s testing of a commercial in-home testing strip that could be used to test for the presence of toxin in a home’s water supply.  But right now, citizens should be contacting their county health department for advice on usage of water from private water lines in Skaneateles Lake.  This could pressure those health departments to conduct their own lake-wide testing.

The literature we have reviewed and the water experts we have consulted recommend that:

  1. In-home systems include intakes that are as far from the shoreline and a deep as possible;
  2. In-home filtration systems consist of a 20 micron filter followed by a 5 micron filter followed by an ultraviolet or chlorinating system.
  3. Filters should be changed regularly. This will provide a sanitizing system, but it is not a system that removes toxins unless a chlorinating system was in place that used 10X the level of chlorine used in a sanitizing system. This would create strong chlorine tastes to the water.

Please note that there is no good data that shows that residential granulated carbon filters are of value in removing toxin.  There are reverse osmosis systems that may be helpful in removing toxin but they are expensive, require high maintenance and must be set up to ensure that the rejected effluent with the toxins does not go back into the lake.

Right now, every citizen of the lake community can support the effort to reduce nutrient loading of the lake, which along with sun, warmer water and no wind comprise the recipe for algal blooms. Two simple steps we can take right now are

  1. avoid the use of lawn fertilizers and,
  2. if you are a lake front owner collect shoreline and beachfront leaves and compost or mulch them away from the lake front or bring them to the transfer station.

Lake front owners can also begin to plan a buffer zone of plantings for the shoreline to plant in the spring.  There are many resources for these plantings and if you need information on them just send us a message on our website, SkaneatelesLake.org, via the “contact us” tab.