MAYVILLE – Chautauqua County health officials are urging people who swim or boat in Chautauqua Lake and other area lakes to be on the look out for algae blooms that can be toxic to humans and animals if injested.
Officials with the County Department of Health and Human Services say warm temperatures are setting the stage for blue-green algae blooms on area lakes. As a result, all residents are advised to be cautious when out on the lakes, especially if algae is present. Blue-green algae blooms can be a problem because they can release a toxin, which at high levels is harmful to human and animal health if ingested.
County public health director Christine Schuyler emphasized that “the real threat is when people or pets drink or otherwise ingest water directly from a lake where a bloom is occurring. Lake water that is properly treated through an approved Health Department water treatment plant does not pose a risk. Schuyler also says that a significant amount of testing has taken place the past three years and the only samples that have been high were those from locations where significant algae blooms were present and the water was very unsightly.
The health department has developed a response plan to help protect the public from health effects caused by blue-green algal blooms when they occur. This includes closely monitoring permitted bathing beaches and public drinking water supplies, along with collecting a limited number of samples from our lakes for submission to the New York State Department of Health laboratory.