Environment

Algal Blooms Lead Onondaga County Officials to Take Precaution

(c) 2017 Lise Muccilo, Skaneateles Lake is the main source of water for the City of Syracuse.

Click the link above to learn more about algae blooms in the Syracuse area. 

Muccilo Algae Blooms

By Dom Muccilo SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — After toxic algae was found last summer, Onondaga County officials aren’t taking any chances when it comes to water safety.

Suspicious algal blooms have already been found in Skaneateles Lake, the primary source of Syracuse’s water. Concerns have prompted water quality testing from the City of Syracuse Health Department.

Testing is taking place weekly and so far, no tests have come back positive. If results indicate high toxin levels in the algae, they will test on a daily basis.

Last July brought thunderstorms, heat and humidity, which contributed to high toxin levels found in the intake, according to Onondaga County Health officials.

“That was the first time that I recall actually seeing toxin levels or having confirmed toxin levels at the intakes to the public water system,” said Jeffrey Till, the Onondaga County Director of Public Health Engineering.

The increase in algal blooms has been blamed on Mother Nature, but pesticides and fertilizers have also played a role. These chemicals used on lawns near Skaneateles Lake serve as nutrients for algae, helping it grow.

Regulations are currently in place which limit the amount of chemicals a resident can use, but Till says there’s a possibility that tighter restrictions could be put in place.

“If this starts to become more and more regular, we’ll take a look at those regulations and see if we need to be a little more strict on them,” he said.

Enforcing strict rules on pesticides and fertilizers might help, but ultimately, Till is hoping for better weather

“Hoping for the best. It’s up to Mother Nature at this point and if anything does happen we’re ready to react to it,” said Till.