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Skaneateles Closes Beaches, DEC Tests for Toxic Blue Green Algae

Local wildlife navigates through the blue green algae on Skaneateles’s north shore. © 2018 Natalie Maier

Audio Transcript: Skaneateles Closes Beaches…

By Natalie Maier SKANEATELES, N.Y. (NCC News) – The Village of Skaneateles public beach was closed today as large, visible blooms of blue green algae floated at the shore. The Department of Environmental Conservation has tested the blooms and is waiting on results later this week to see if they are toxic.

Once the second-cleanest lake in the country, Skaneateles is now battling with potentially toxic blue green algae. © 2018 Natalie Maier

Skaneateles lake has rarely had issues with blue green algae. That was, until last summer when the first harmful algae bloom was spotted on the lake. The algae presence on this lake is particularly concerning to the state department, as it is a primary water supply for the City of Syracuse and many surrounding towns.

The state DEC has released a Harmful Algae Bloom Action Plan, in which it outlines how it has been monitoring the lake, and how it is prepared to treat the water to keep Syracuse’s water supply safe for drinking.

One local resident, Zack Ford, said drinking water isn’t the only thing at risk. Ford said the decline of the lake’s health could turn tourists away and hurt the economy.

Skaneateles Lake was once the second-cleanest lake in the country. Today, visible blooms of blue green algae cover almost the entire length of the public beach at the north end of the lake. Certain types of blue green algae can cause skin and eye irritation, and even upset stomach and diarrhea.

Potentially toxic blue green algae covers the north shore of Skaneateles lake. © 2018 Natalie Maier

The beaches will remain closed until the Onondaga County Health Department can confirm that the blooms are not toxic.