MAYVILLE – As the boating and swimming season ends in Chautauqua County, the County Health Department reminds everyone to be cautious of continued blue-green algae in area waters.
The algae, technically known as cyano-bacteria, are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They usually are present in low numbers but blue-green algae can become very abundant in warm, shallow, undisturbed surface water that receives a lot of sunlight. When this occurs, they can form blooms that discolor the water or produce floating rafts or scum on the surface of the water. These blooms may appear thick like pea soup, like green paint, or like grass clippings on the water.
County health director Christine Schuyler says the real threat to public health is when people or pets drink or ingest water directly from a lake or pond where a bloom is occurring.
Although our swimming season has come to an end, many people such as boaters, fishermen, and dock maintenance personnel – as well as pets – may still frequent the lake waters and need to avoid direct contact with the algal blooms.
For more information from the Health Department about blue-green algae visit www.health.ny.gov or call the Chautauqua County Health Department at 1-866-604-6789.