TOMPKINS COUNTY, N.Y. — Multiple blue-green algae blooms, known as Harmful Algal Blooms, have been confirmed in Cayuga Lake this summer, and most recently in Dryden Lake.

The Tompkins County Health Department put out an alert Tuesday, urging residents and visitors to beware of the blue-green algae. Local lakes continue to be monitored for HABs.

“These blooms can occur in any calm body of water and may produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals. Do not drink the water and avoid contact with the water if it appears discolored or has an unpleasant odor,” the health department said in a news release.

Related: Tompkins Legislature, Park Foundation help fund continued Harmful Algal Bloom testing

If contact occurs with suspicious blue-green algae, the health department advises people to:

  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae. Rinse dogs that may have gone in the water so that 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 having contact with blooms or untreated surface water.

Harmful Algal Blooms have been monitored by volunteers, or “HAB harriers,” organized by the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Discover Cayuga Lake and the Community Science Institute. The results from the monitoring are available on a regularly updated map on the Community Science Institute.

More information

Report any HAB-related health symptoms to the NYS Health Department at harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov or call the Tompkins County Health Department at (607) 274-6604.

Anyone who sees a suspicious bloom is advised to stay out of the water and report it to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation at habshotline@gmail.com. Fill out and submit a Suspicious Algal Bloom Report Form, found here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/water_pdf/suspalgformedit.pdf. Email the completed form and, if possible, attach digital photos (close-up and landscape to show extent and location) of the suspected bloom to Habshotline@gmail.com.

More information from the Tompkins County Health Department is available here.

For more information about HABs, visit the Cayuga Lake Watershed Network resource page. Visit the Community Science Institute here.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.