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Harmful algal blooms

A harmful algal bloom on Owasco Lake in Cayuga County is seen in the summer of 2017. In 2018, the DEC said 52 waterbodies had suspicious blooms, 84 with confirmed blooms and 37 were confirmed high toxins blooms. 

Algal blooms in Cossayuna and Summit lakes are toxic, the state has confirmed.

Harmful algal blooms are technically called cyanobacteria, and are naturally occurring in water bodies. Sometimes, however, cyanobacteria can produce toxins that are bad for our health. 

Lab samples of the cyanobacteria in both Washington County lakes were tested for toxins, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation's notifications website. The samples came back with high levels. The most common toxin produced by cyanobacteria in New York state is called microcystin, a kind of liver toxin. 

Saratoga County lakes may also be affected still including Moreau and Saratoga lakes. They are listed as having suspicious toxic blooms based on visual reports. No lab samples were sent in, according to the state's website, which is updated once a week with the latest bloom information.

The state encourages people and pets to stay out of water bodies with blooms, whether they are confirmed to have toxins or not. To see the latest updated listing of water bodies with harmful algal blooms, visit dec.ny.gov/chemical/83310.html.

— Gwendolyn Craig

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1

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