(WENY) – In a press release sent out by the Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association, officials say harmful algal blooms have been identified in water samples taken from Seneca Lake.

According to the SLPWA, The Finger Lakes Institute and William Smith College tested six of a total of 16 bloom samples taken from the lake on Thursday, September 5. The results show that all six samples were above the threshold of 25 micrograms per liter of blue-green chlorophyll.
Additional bloom samples are being tested Friday.

Officials say this is the first widespread bloom case in 2019 for Seneca Lake and follows the pattern of the last few years, with the major bloom incidents happening around mid-September. This is reportedly the fifth year in a row that cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as Blue-Green Algae (BGA) or Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), has been confirmed in Seneca Lake.

Experts say HABs usually occur in “calm, nutrient-rich, warm waters”.

Water with Harmful Algal Blooms look like:

  • Pea soup
  • Blue, green or white spilled paint
  • Green dots in the water, or green globs on the water surface
  • Parallel streaks that are usually green

Seneca Lake Pure Waters, HABs Director, Frank DiOrio says, “Blooms can produce toxins that may have harmful effects - from skin irritation to lung, liver and nervous system problems depending on the exposure. People and animals should stay clear of waters that have HAB characteristics.”

Since early August, SLPWA, in collaboration with FLI and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, has monitored Seneca Lake's shoreline on a weekly basis to see if HABs appear. Pure Waters has over 120 volunteers who they say will continue to monitor the lake's shoreline through October 2019.

Bloom locations are posted to an interactive bloom map which is available to the public via their website at SenecaLake.org.