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Harmful Algal Bloom health advisory in Livingston County

Signs of Harmful Algal Blooms on Conesus Lake in Livingston County. An advisory went out in June and was confirmed again in July.
Livingston County Department of Health
Signs of Harmful Algal Blooms on Conesus Lake in Livingston County. An advisory went out in June and was confirmed again in July.

Some local health officials are cautioning swimmers and boaters about Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB).

The blooms can occur in any number of lakes, ponds, and streams and can also create a condition that isn’t healthy for people or pets.

Recently the Livingston County Department of Health issued a Harmful Algal Bloom Advisory for Conesus Lake. The initial advisory went out last month, and this week health officials said it remains in effect.

Officials said the public water supply is safe for drinking.

Some of the blooms may produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals, causing conditions that include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting or throat irritation.

HABs consist of visible patches of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria are naturally present in low numbers in most aquatic (freshwater and/or marine) systems, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

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HAB’s can turn the water green and form a thick scum on the surface of the water.

New York state keeps track of reports of the harmful algal blooms on the DEC website.

Various conditions contribute to the formation of the blooms, including certain nutrients in the water, such as phosphorous, warm temperatures and calm winds.

There have been efforts to help control the extent of outbreaks of HABs, by putting an emphasis on reducing phosphorous and nitrogen from running off into a lake or other body of water from farms and sewer systems.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.