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Efforts underway to mitigate algal blooms in NY


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Awareness has started to spread about the danger of harmful algal blooms in our drinking water, causing Governor Andrew Cuomo to allocate a huge chunk of money to try and help this spreading problem.

“Drinking water supply sources for 9 million people are threatened by these harmful algal blooms,” Walter Hang, Toxics Targeting, Inc., said.

According to Toxics Targeting, harmful algal blooms have infiltrated around 200 waterways throughout the state including the Capital Region, Rochester and most recently, Skaneateles Lake, which supplies drinking water to Syracuse.

“Was widely thought to be one of the cleanest lakes in New York, provides unfiltered water to the City of Syracuse.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health confirmed that there were algal blooms spotted in that area and a beach was shut down until the water was safe again.

“Weather resulted in the bloom dissipating and the beach was re-opened for use,” Brad Hutton, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health at the Department of Health, said.

“This is where the monitoring network comes in, that we get the information, we go and do testing so that we confirm one way or another and we make recommendations,” Julie Tighe, DEC Chief of Staff, said.

The DEC says this is exactly why awareness is key and residents should alert the DEC if they spot algae blooms. If blooms are spotted in your lake, people and pets should not get in that water. Officials say your tap water should still safe since it is treated.

“We work in collaboration with water systems across the state to monitor and be sure there is never any presence of toxins in the water pre-treatment and absolutely post-treatment,” Hutton said.

Toxic Targeting also claims that even though Gov. Cuomo allocated $65 million to treating algae blooms, but the action plans lacked specifics.

“There is no assessment of where the pollution comes from and there is no specific plan of action,” Hang said.

“We are taking a lot of action across the state to make sure we are protecting drinking water from all kinds of contaminants,” Tighe said.