Toxic Algae

HABs: Know it. Avoid it. Report it.

Know it.

It might be harmful blue-green algae if you see: strongly colored water, paint-like appearance, floating mats or scum.

View these images for examples:

Avoid it.

If you are not on a public water supply, household water treatment such as Ultraviolet (UV), boiling or chlorinating will not make your water safe for use. During a bloom, do not drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with water from the lake or from beach wells.

Never drink untreated surface water.

Visually monitor the water near your beach well daily and call Environmental Health with questions: 607-274-6688.

Never swim, fish, boat, wade or eat fish caught in water with blooms.

If you see a bloom, avoid it and wait 24 hours after the bloom is no longer visible before swimming or having contact with the water.

Pet owners should keep their pets away from water experiencing algae blooms. If animals ingest the toxins either through drinking or cleaning their fur after exposure, they can become sick quickly. Call your veterinarian if your pet comes in contact with a bloom.

Report it.

If you see a suspicious bloom, stay out of the water and report the bloom to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation at

What to do if contact occurs with blue-green algae:

Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae, including dogs that may have gone in the water.

Stop using water and seek medical attention immediately if symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after drinking or having contact with blooms or untreated surface water.

Report any HAB-related health symptoms to the NYS Health Department at, or call TCHD Community Health Services at (607) 274-6604.

The Health Department is working closely with operators of bathing beaches. Beaches may be closed due to the presence of HABs. Please contact the facility operator directly for more information.

The Health Department is also working closely with public water supplies. There is no concern with public water supplies at this time.

To learn more about HABs, click here:

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Sharon Anderson
Environment Team Leader
(607) 272-2292 ext. 156

Last updated April 12, 2018