Sylvan Beach and Verona Beach closed to swimmers while algae is tested


ONEIDA LAKE, N.Y. (WKTV) - Thick algae is growing on the eastern shores of Oneida Lake, and until officials determine if the algae is toxic, Sylvan Beach and Verona Beach are closed to swimmers.

Two members of the Oneida County Health Department were performing a routine inspection at Sylvan Beach when they noticed the water was green and thick with algae. The algae may be blue-green algae, which is toxic. After speaking with beach officials they agreed the beach should close until samples collected Thursday are tested.

Sylvan Beach closed to swimmers around 12:30pm. Later Thursday afternoon, Verona Beach officials contacted the Health Department and informed them they also had green colored algae in the water. It was determined Verona Beach should also remain closed and samples were taken.

Dan Gilmore from the Oneida County Health Department says there are two reasons the blue-green algae is dangerous. First, it poses a health threat to swimmers. Anyone who ingests the algae could become ill with an upset stomach, nauseous, even disorientation. The algae can be fatal to small animals. Secondly, lifeguards are unable to see through the thick algae when looking out for swimmers.

Gilmore says anyone who comes into contact with the algae should wash with soap and water. The beaches will remain closed until the test results come back. Those are expected Friday afternoon. If the samples test positive for blue-green algae the beaches will remain closed until the water clears and future test results come back clean.

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