Blue-green algae brings recommendation to not drink water supplied by the Village of Rushville

Oct 11, 2018

The New York state health department is recommending that people who are served by the Village of Rushville’s Public Water Supply, including customers in the Middlesex Water District, use an alternate source of water for drinking, cooking, making infant formula, making ice, and preparing food and beverages until further notice.

That is after samples collected recently show a blue-green algae toxin called microcystin was detected in the drinking water delivered to consumers. Microcystin entered the supply due to blue-green algae blooms occurring in Canandaigua Lake, which is the source water for the Village of Rushville’s Public Water Supply, the state health department said. Rushville is in both Ontario and Yates Counties.

Rushville was distributing bottled water to residents after algae toxins were found in its drinking water supply.
Credit Village of Rushville

"Things are a little crazy around here today," said village clerk and treasurer Joanne Burley, saying the mayor was out driving his school bus route Friday morning as she was fielding media calls and directing residents to bottled water distribution sites.

The levels of the toxin were more than twice the acceptable level set by federal authorities for infants and children under 6, but still under levels deemed unsafe for older children and adults.

State health officials said that boiling or filtering water will not make it safe to drink.  They said the water is still acceptable for other household uses, such as bathing, washing and dishes, flushing toilets, and cleaning.

The Village of Rushville’s Public Water Supply is working with the state health department and Ontario and Yates counties to provide bottled water for residents while the advisory remains in effect. 

The state health department provided 1,900 bottles of water on Thursday evening and the state emergency services division was delivering nine additional pallets from its supply, officials said. 

Bottled water will be available for distribution at Rushville Hose Company, 14 Railroad Ave, Rushville, NY 14544 beginning at 6pm Thursday evening.

Two consecutive days of test results with low levels of microcystins (the most concerning toxin in algal blooms) are required before the state will lift the do-not-drink order. Deputy state health commissioner Brad Hutton said Friday that one test Thursday already showed good results. Testing on Friday's water sample could be completed as early as Saturday morning, he said.

Information about blue-green algae and related toxins can be found at www.health.ny.gov/HarmfulAlgae.