The Chautauqua County Department of Health and Human Services say Lakewood Beach and Long Point State Park Beach are closed after Localized Harmful Algal Blooms (HABS) were found in Chautauqua Lake near Long Point State Park.
According to the Public Health Divison, HABS are created when blue-green algae release toxins which can be harmful to human and animal health.
These blooms are more likely in areas near the shore than open water areas and are known to contain higher toxin levels than those in open water.
People and pets can be exposed to toxins by contact with HABS during water activities, through surface water use around the house, and drinking water.
Christine Schuyler, County Director with the Department of Health and Human Services says, “The greatest threat to public health from HABs is when people or pets drink or otherwise ingest water directly from a lake where a bloom is occurring. Lake water that is properly treated through an approved DHHS water treatment plant does not pose a risk. Swimming or recreating in areas where the water contains high levels of toxin can cause skin irritation and other symptoms to those with high sensitivity.”
Officials are urging residents and visitors to use caution when entering the water where an active bloom is present, do not ingest the water, closely watch children and pets and if exposed, wash off immediately.
The Department of Health and Human Services says people should also take the following precautions:
- When swimming, wading, or boating, avoid areas with blooms or surface scums, or water that is noticeably discolored.
- Do not allow young children or pets to play in water where an algal bloom is present.
- 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 have been closed.
- Never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water, bloom or no bloom.
Additional information about HABS and the status of Chautauqua County beaches can be found by clicking here.