Harmful algal bloom spotted at Lake George

Warren County

A clumpy harmful algal bloom. (Photo: NY DEC)

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Last week, staff at the Lake George Association (LGA) spotted cyanobacteria floating on the surface of the water at three locations near Lake George Village. They called it a small, short-lived harmful algal bloom (HAB).

Staff took pictures at one of the three locations—near Hall’s Marina—and reported the algal bloom to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for an investigation. According to the LGA, DEC initially confirmed the cyanobacteria as an HAB based on the photograph sent in. Lab analysis later confirmed that the sample met the HAB classification standard, making this the third such bloom at Lake George. in two years.

The LGA’s weekly water quality sampling on Tuesday turned up cyanobacteria in the water column near Million Dollar Beach, Shephard’s Park Beach, and at a third spot between those beaches. DEC has said there are “no concerns related to public drinking water regarding this bloom at this time.” They also said:

DEC’s microscopic analysis determined the bloom was made up of Dolichospermum—a common type of cyanobacteria found in HABs in New York. DEC has also confirmed blue-green chlorophyll-a concentrations in the bloom were >25 ug/L. However, DEC has confirmed yesrerday that toxin levels in lake water samples were found to be below U.S. EPA’s 10-day drinking water health advisory level of 0.30 ug/L for sensitive populations.

Samples collected from the Village of Lake George water supply on July 21 had no detected toxins. While there are no concerns related to public drinking water regarding this bloom, the New York State Department of Health reminds residents to never drink untreated surface water.

An environmental research team from the Jefferson Project—a collaboration of the LGA, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and IBM—was also deployed. They measured physical, biological, and chemical activity in the water and weather conditions before, during, and after the bloom.

Cyanobacteria is reportedly always present in lakes, but when it meets a certain threshold and rises to the surface, the water takes on a murky green shade. When the bacteria population rapidly grows or blooms in calm lake conditions, they can sometimes release harmful toxins.

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