Blue Green Algae Update
We have received the toxin results from the 3 samples collected on Monday. These samples were collected along the shoreline where the Blue Green Algae (BGA) was accumulating in isolated locations and are representative of the very worst case scenario areas that had the densest blue green algae. The blue green algae chlorophyll-a in these areas were 129.5 ug/L, 364.3 and 701.3 ug/L. The toxicity results were 117.84ug/L, 386.61ug/L and 663ug/L. Toxin levels that are above 20ug/L are considered to be in the high toxicity category. Obviously, our results are well above the 20ug/L threshold. Therefore, individuals need to use increased caution. Exposure 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.
The very calm wind conditions this week (including today and most likely this weekend) are allowing BGA to concentrate along sections of the shoreline. As we noted yesterday BGA concentrations were starting to appear along sections of the west side as well…which was caused by a very gentle breeze coming out of the east. The slight breeze skims the water and concentrates the surface algae to the windward shore. There was no real wave action and thus no mixing to reduce algae concentrations.
It is important to note that our samples from mid-week show that the open water areas has great clarity- 7.5 meters, and has been mainly clear of any visible concentrations of algae. Our open water chlorophyll-a sample results and clarity readings indicate that the vast majority of the lake is not experiencing bloom level conditions. Instead, blooms tend to be located along sections of shoreline and near shore areas where the gentle wind is causing the algae to concentrate. This warm, sunny and calm weather continues to provide potential excellent growing conditions for algae. Conditions can change quickly on the lake, so we cannot say where blue green algae will be present and whether it will reach bloom conditions in a specific location. During very calm conditions blooms can potentially generate at the surface in the mid-lake areas as well.
Before going into the water, look for signs of blue green algae. If you see anything suspicious such as discolored water, dots in the water streaks of algae or outright bloom conditions- avoid it! In addition, remember that your pets can be especially vulnerable to Blue Green Algae since they drink a lot of water when in the lake and the algae can concentrate on their fur and they can ingest large quantities when they groom themselves.
For more information on blue green algae, please see our brochure (https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/a5c0cd_3535518224e94360832746b98c179e31.pdf ), the New York State Department of Health website (https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/bluegreenalgae/) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website (http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/77118.html ).
If residents are seeing concentrations please email us pictures at Kevin.Olvany@canandaiguanewyork.gov or Kmcgarry@canandaiguanewyork.gov.