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Livingston County issues harmful algae bloom advisory

Surveillance performed today on Consensus Lake showed conditions conductive to the formation of harmful algae blooms (HABs), said the Livingston County Department of Health.

“While these conditions have improved in comparison to previous weeks, persons are encouraged to take caution,” said a Friday, August 19 release.

Livingston County DOH: Avoid contact with discolored water as HABs may be present

People should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has scum on the surface, according to the DOH.

They say blooms occur when algae multiply very rapidly over a short period of time, usually in calm, warm water.

Example of discolored water that signifies HABs may be present. Credit: Livingston County DOH

There are thousands of algae species, with a few that may create toxins. The toxins are a concern when there is a high level present in the water.

The Livingston County DOH says it is monitoring for algae blooms and may collect samples of the water if the bloom is concentrated and persistent.

Harmful algal blooms may persist in varying degrees and at various locations throughout the summer and fall seasons.

The DOH says the public water supply is safe for drinking.

Related: Aquatic invasive species threaten the Finger Lakes ecosystem: “We’ve got to stop the spread”

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Contact with harmful algae blooms: Signs, symptoms and prevention

The following information is provided by the Livingston County Health Department:

Contact with the algae may result in some health issues such as itching, rashes, fever, headache, upper respiratory symptoms, vomiting and diarrhea.

These symptoms are not just caused by harmful algae contact.

If you have any of these symptoms and they persist, you should seek medical advice.

You are advised not to drink or use the lake water for cooking and do not swim, wade, play, or come into direct contact with water that is discolored or has scums on the surface.

Related: Harmful algae bloom health advisory in Livingston County

Pets should not be allowed to drink or to come into contact with discolored water.

If contact occurs, wash with soap and clean water to remove algal material.

Always rinse after coming into contact with any surface water whether or not a blue-green algae bloom is present.

Avoid contact with surface water when open cuts or wounds are present on the body.

Questions may be directed to the Livingston County Department of Health at 243-7280 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by e-mail at [email protected].