Water Quality

 Alga Blooms Part 2


Results from samples tested 

Last week, there were several reports and pictures taken, starting Wednesday 9/13 thru the weekend, of “algal blooms” on shorelines of Keuka throughout the lake. The blooms looked like green paint or stain spilled on the water or in some cases like pea soup against the shore. They could also look like an accumulation of pollen or granules suspended in the water column. Samples were taken at two sites in the on the southeast shore and west bluff shore. The samples were analyzed by the College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

RESULTS WERE POSITIVE FOR CYANOBACTERIA (also know as “blue green algae”). 


Were these blooms hazardous?

YES ! These blooms are now classified by the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as “Confirmed with High Toxins Bloom”. 

Cyanobacteria, in the high concentrations, such as in these blooms, produce irritating toxins called mycrocystins. Exposure to mycrocystins can cause skin reactions such as rash/hives/blisters especially to lips and under swimsuits. Inhalation of water droplets can cause runny eyes, cough or other allergic type reactions. Hopefully, no one would have swallowed any water with these blooms but pets may have, and it may cause nausea or vomiting. 

What now?

Currently, the blooms have dissipated and the lake is in good condition for recreational activities. However the weather conditions, combined with other factors, which produced the blooms, are continuing. Cyanobacteria and many algae are native to the Finger Lakes. It should be noted that blooms have been reported throughout the entire Finger Lakes region including Skaneateles. Canandaigua, Seneca and Cayuga. Please continue to take precautions and use common sense if you notice any sign of a bloom.

What should I do if I have a bloom on my shoreline?

First, avoid use of water, no swimming etc. until the bloom has dissipated. Keep out pets as well. Watch for any signs of skin irritation or other health issues and report to your physician. You may also report to harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov.

Second, take pictures and email them to HABsInfo@dec.ny.gov and/or info@keukalakeassoc.org. This will help us monitor and assess the on-going blooms. For additional information, call the DEC at 518-402-8179 or KLA at 315-694-7324 or 1-866-369-3781.

Third, if possible take a sample of the bloom in a clean plastic container or clean zip-lock bag and refrigerate. Contact Maria Hudson via email mwhudsn4@gmail.com for pick up to send the sample for analysis. Analysis takes a about a week, but will determine the type of bloom and whether or not it was hazardous.

Finally, thank you so much for supporting the Keuka Lake Association and visiting this website. As always we strive to Preserve and Protect our beautiful Keuka Lake.



To Preserve and Protect Keuka Lake