Toxic Algae Closes 6 Putnam County Beaches

July 9, 2024 0 By JohnValbyNation

PUTNAM COUNTY, NY — With six beaches closed in Putnam due to toxic algae, local officials are concerned about the health and environmental implications.

Experts in hazardous algae blooms will join County Executive Kevin Byrne and Assemblyman Matt Slater on Friday at Barger Pond Beach, one of those recently closed, to discuss the problem.

“Algal blooms are not just an environmental concern; they are a public health crisis. In Putnam County and across New York State, these harmful algae blooms threaten our drinking water, aquatic life, and recreational activities,” Byrne told Patch. “It’s imperative that we take decisive and comprehensive action to address this issue, protect our natural resources, and ensure the safety and well-being of our communities. Our Putnam County Department of Health does a great job managing and monitoring the problem, but we need assistance in actually solving it.”

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Harmful algal blooms are made up of cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae). Individual algal cells cannot be seen with the unaided eye, however, under certain conditions they can cluster together and form large, visible colonies called blooms that produce toxins.

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HABs usually occur in “nutrient-rich” waters, particularly during hot, calm weather. Septic systems are a frequent cause at lakes where there are densely populated communities. Fertilizer run-off from lawn care or agriculture is another.

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The beaches closed due to HABs in Putnam County:

Putnam County is not the only place in the Hudson Valley with toxic algae already this summer. Beaverdam Lake in Orange County has been overrun since the spring and two beaches on Lake Mohegan in Yorktown were closed Monday.

SEE ALSO: Gas Leak Odor Turns Out To Be Algae Bloom Smell From Nearby Lake

People who spend time in and on the water should be aware of the potential for HABs and check the HABs Reporting and Notifications page for a list of bloom reports or OPEN NY for past listings, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Other points from the DEC:

Don’t let children or pets wade, drink the water, or walk in beach debris if you suspect an algae bloom is present.

Swimming at regulated beaches will greatly reduce your risk of exposure to HABs, since beaches are closely monitored by professionals for the presence of blooms. Beach closures of health officials are conducted to protect swimmers from potentially harmful events, including HABs.
If you plan on swimming outside of a regulated swimming beach, learn how to help reduce your risk of exposure to potential hazards. It is your responsibility to decide if the risks associated with swimming in a waterbody are acceptable.

Pets should avoid contact with any floating mats, scums, or discolored water. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red.

HABs cells can stick to animal fur and become concentrated when the animal cleans itself. Rinse your pet or livestock with clean water and seek veterinarian medical assistance should your animal show any signs of distress after a potential HABs exposure.

HABs may release a fast-acting nerve toxin that can be dangerous for pets, particularly dogs that swim within blooms.

If you see or suspect any of these symptoms, particularly within 30 minutes to a few hours after exposure to a HAB, seek immediate veterinarian care:

The best advice is “Know it, Avoid it, Report it.” If you suspect that you have seen a HAB, please report it to DEC with a Suspicious Algal Bloom Report Form.


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