CONESUS LAKE — With the average human body being made up of 60% water, our bodies and vital systems thrive on its consumption. So with Blue-Green Algae blooms spurring up twice this year in near by Conesus Lake our community is wondering what is an algae bloom and what does it mean to my family?
Blue-Green Algae blooms occur naturally when algae in the lake multiplies very rapidly over a short period of time. This happens mostly in calm warmer bodies of water, making Conesus Lake ideal for such an incident. Once the algae begin to die off, the toxins they contain could be released into the water making it potentially harmful.
Livingston Counties Department of Environmental Health professionals continually survey Conesus Lake to make sure our community remains safe, healthy and risk free.
“Typically the initial step is visual observation to spotting (Blue-Green Algae),” said Mark Grovanz, Environmental Health Director for Livingston County Department of Health. “Then we take a water sample and put it under microscope for a lab test to further confirm it.”
The second algae bloom this year that was visibly identified on the Aug. 19 was located at the middle, north-end and the shorelines of the lake. Since then, teams have surveyed and taken samples of water from Conesus Lake daily. These samples are tested to make sure that the toxins being released due to the dieing off algae don't reach above 10 parts per million, which can be considered hazardous.
Grovanz continued to say “It doesn't really harm the environment, its a naturally occurring thing. (However,) it can be harmful to people and pets.”
Do to this most recent algae bloom, Livingston County Department of Health sent out a public notice. In this document they mentioned that coming in contact with the algae may result in some health effects such as itching, rashes and dermatitis. They also advised that people shouldn't drink or cook with the lake water.
For some that live or are vacationing directly on the lake, you may find yourself asking, I live and play right on the lake daily, what do I do?
Livingston County Department of Health also added that the lake is safe for recreational activities like swimming and water skiing where the Blue-Green Algae is not visible. However, people should not swim, wade, or come into direct contact with the visible algae on the waters surface. If contact does occur be sure to wash with soap and clean water to remove the algal material. As for the public drinking water, it was not affected and is safe to drink.
So now we know what an algae bloom is and how it will effect us now, but what does this mean for the future of Conesus Lake?
“(Algae blooms are) kind of erratic,” Grovanz added. “The wind does play a lot into, they tend to go away as quickly as they form. So you might see it in one place, then pop up somewhere else.”
With nature choosing its own path, all we can do is remain vigilant and mindful of what Blue-Green Algae blooms are and how it affects us and our bodies. We can also help our professionals by reporting possible Blue-Green Algae blooms to Livingston County Environmental Health Department at 585-243-7280
For more information on the Blue-Green Algae, visit the New York State Department of Health web site at http://www.health.ny.gov/