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Algae toxins found at low levels in Skaneateles Lake intake pipes

For the first time this year, algae toxins have been found in the city of Syracuse's water intake pipes in Skaneateles Lake.

The levels are very low — at the threshold of detection — and none of the toxins are reaching drinking water, said officials from the state Department of Health.

Samples taken Monday and Tuesday show 0.3 parts per billion of toxins known as microcystins. Weekly tests during July had shown no detectable levels of the toxins.

The discovery of the toxins kicks in a daily testing schedule agreed upon this year by the state and city.

Peak levels found last year during an algae bloom in September were nearly three times higher than this week's, and none of the microcystins reached anybody's taps then, health officials said. The city added more chlorine directly into the pipes last year.

"We had a lot of experience with the successful management of this from last season," said Brad Hutton, the department's deputy director of public health.
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