CONESUS – Blue green algae has now made it to the east side of Conesus Lake as it continues to spread northward.
According to the Livingston County Department of Health, whether the algae will impact celebrations on the lake on July 3 and 4 is completely up in the air.
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“It is unclear whether rain would help,” said Mark Grovanz, Director of Environmental Health for the Livingston County Department of Health. “Rain can help by getting the water moving and breaking [algae] up, but it can also make it worse by washing more nutrients and fertilizer into the water. We certainly hope that everybody has a great holiday weekend.”
All public beaches are currently open to swimming, but individuals are advised not to drink or use the lake water for cooking and not to swim, wade, play, or come into direct contact with water that is discolored or has ‘scum’ on the surface.
Blooms were first identified on June 21, 2016 in the area of Southern Shores campground. Swimming has since been closed at the south end of the lake.
The Department of Health says that they may collect samples of the water ‘if the bloom is concentrated and persistent.’ They said that the public water supply is safe for drinking.
“At this time, visual monitoring has detected the presence of blue-green algae in the noted area,” said the Health Department.
The advisory says that contact with the algae may result in some health effects such as itching, rashes, fever, headache, upper respiratory symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea, but symptoms are not caused only by blue-green algae contact. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you should seek medical advice.
Pets should not be allowed to drink or to come into contact with discolored water. If contact occurs, wash with soap and clean water to remove algal material. Always rinse after coming into contact with any surface water whether or not a blue-green algae bloom is present. Avoid contact with surface water when open cuts or wounds are present on the body.
Blue-green algae is toxic and sporadically blooms on the lake at unpredictable times. Some years are worse than others. The algae caused no public health advisories in 2015, but in 2014 large mats of algae made the water temporarily hazardous to swimmers and pets.
The Health Department says that blooms occur when algae multiply very rapidly over a short period of time, usually in calm, warm, water.
The toxins in blue-green algae are a concern when there is a high level present in the water. Blue-green algae blooms may persist in varying degrees and a various locations throughout the summer and fall seasons.
Questions may be directed to the Livingston County Department of Health at (585) 243-7280 Monday thru Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also reach the Department of Health after business hours or on weekends by calling the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office at (585) 243-7100 and asking for the Public Health Duty Officer.