If you see it – avoid it and report it!
People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algae scums on the surface. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. If contact does occur, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae.
Never drink untreated surface water, whether or not algae blooms are present. Untreated surface water may contain other bacteria, parasites or viruses, as well as cyanotoxins that could cause illness if consumed.
People not on public water supplies should not drink surface water during an algal bloom, even if it is treated, because in-home treatments such as boiling, disinfecting water with chlorine or ultraviolet (UV), and water filtration units do not protect people from HABs toxins.
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.
For answers to other frequently asked questions go to the DEC HABs FAQ page.
If you suspect that you have seen a HAB or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a bloom, please report the bloom to the DEC. Fill out and submit a Suspicious Algal Bloom Report Form (PDF, 764 KB). Email the completed form and, if possible, attach digital photos (close-up and landscape to show extent and location) of the suspected bloom to HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov.
For more information you contact your regional DEC office or:
DEC HABs Program Coordinator
Rebecca Gorney Ph.D., Division of Water
Phone: (518) 402-8179
Skaneateles Lake participates in the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation HAB Surveillance Program. Through the SLA 25 residents have been trained in identifying and sampling HABs, are monitoring the lake weekly and coordinating response to reports of suspicious blooms from the public.
The DEC issues weekly reports based on these observations and samples. Weekly reports are listed below, the map referencing zones corresponding to where our volunteers are reporting.
It is important to note blooms are transient and dissipate so date of sampling is essential and not indicative of current lake status.
DEC site notification page: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/83310.html