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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
For more information contact:
Hanna Ring, CNY Program Coordinator, 315-472-1339, hring@citizenscampaign.org
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, 516-390-7150, aesposito@citizenscampaign.org

TOXIC BLUE-GREEN ALGAE IN SKANEATELES LAKE IS A WAKE-UP CALL FOR CENTRAL NEW YORK

CCE calls on State and Local Officials to develop An Action Plan to address the source of the problem before it gets worse

Syracuse, NY— Test results confirmed that highly toxic blue - green alga is present in Skaneateles Lake. This is the first time since testing began in 2009 that samples from Skaneateles Lake have confirmed the presence of this harmful algal bloom. Skaneateles Lake is one only two unfiltered drinking water sources in the state, and provides drinking water to Syracuse and other parts of CNY. Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) is calling on state and local officials to commence a Harmful Algae Bloom Action Plan to address both the short-term dangers of blue-green algae, as well as identifying and addressing the sources of the pollution so that we can prevent toxic algae blooms in the future.

“This is a huge wakeup call and one we should not ignore! Immediate action is needed to address this threat to public health and wildlife,” said Hanna Ring CNY Program Coordinator for Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “Local official’s response has been too casual in notifying the public of this threat. Right now, especially with the weather as warm as it is, the public must be notified not to swim in the lake or allow their dogs or pets to drink from the lake in the impacted areas.”

The initial samples tested show alarmingly high levels of microcystin. Samples from Skaneateles Lake show levels well above the DEC’s threshold of 20 micrograms per liter. “As we have seen with other lakes across New York, if the source of the problem is not addressed it will only worsen. Complacency is our enemy; moving forward an action plan must be developed in order to identify the sources of the algal bloom and actions to prevent future contamination of Skaneateles Lake. The threat to Syracuse’s drinking water supply is real. A prevention plan today will protect us tomorrow,” stated Ring.

Algal blooms form due to excessive nitrogen and phosphorus in waterways, which is frequently caused by inadequately treated sewage from septic systems, fertilizers, or agricultural runoff. According to the EPA, toxic blue-green algae can produce toxins that damage the liver and kidney. This toxin can also affect wildlife and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water.

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by hring  9/19/17