CELORON – Harmful algal blooms are once again becoming a problem in parts of Chautauqua Lake.
Jessica Wuerstle, a Public Health Sanitarian in Chautauqua County, says several isolated blooms are being reported in parts of the lake’s south basin.
She says residents should avoid coming in contact with the algae because of its possible health risks.
“When the algal blooms start occurring, there is the potential risk that they are developing and creating toxins,” explained Wuerstle. “These toxins can cause skin irritation, or when ingested they could cause more severe gastrointestinal problems (like) vomiting or diarrhea.”
If people or pets are accidentally exposed to a bloom, Wuerstle says to use clean water to rinse off as soon as possible.
“It is getting smelly around the lake in areas, you go up to Celoron, you can smell it, it never used to be like that,” said Jamestown native Bill Hosack, an avid fishermen on the lake. “When I was growing up this was a clean lake, you used to be able to swim in it, no problem.”
Blue-green algae are naturally present in lakes. With the right conditions the algae forms blooms, which may appear as floating “rafts” or scums on the surface of the water, creating harmful algal blooms.
Wuerstle also gives the following advice to those who use the body of water:
- When swimming, wading, or boating, avoid areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored. This applies to everyone – adults, children, and animals.
- Don’t fish or eat fish caught from areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.
- Pay attention to beach closures, advisory signs, press releases, and websites. Never swim at beaches that are closed.
- Never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water, bloom or no bloom.”