Blue-green algae nears eastern shore of Oneida Lake


Story Updated: Aug 9, 2013

Blue-green algae blooms, first identified about ten days ago on the North Shore area of Oneida Lake in Oswego County, have now been seen in the North Bay area of the lake in Oneida County, health department officials said.

"It's impossible to tell whether the previously identified algae blooms have migrated or these are newly formed, but we want the public to be aware that some lake waters in Oneida County are being affected,"
Dr. Daniel W. Gilmore, Director of Environmental Health said. He added, "No public beaches, particularly Sylvan Beach, are impacted at this time but the health department will continue to monitor the situation."

Gilmore said the recent reports of blue-green algae blooms, which take on the appearance of pea soup or paint in the water, involve waters off of privately owned properties about 2-3 miles from the eastern shore of Oneida Lake. The algae may produce toxins which can cause health issues for humans and pets that ingest the contaminated water or are exposed to high concentrations of toxins produced by the blooms. Exposure in humans could cause skin, throat and eye irritations, inflammation of the respiratory tract, nausea and vomiting. Ingestion of these toxins can be fatal to pets.

The health department advises persons who suspect blue-green algae is in the water:

  • Do not drink the water

  • Do not swim or wade near algae blooms or surface scum

  • Keep children and pets away from algae blooms or scum

  • Rinse with clean water if exposed to blooms

  • Consult a medical professional if you experience symptoms of nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; skin, eye or throat irritation; difficulty breathing after contact with blue-green algae.     

For more information on blue-green algae, visit our website at or call the Oneida County Health Department at 798-5064.

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