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Tompkins County

55 Brown Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 274-6600

Public Health Director

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Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)


Photo: Finger Lakes Land Trust, Cayuga Lake 2017-08-02-1600hr
Photo: Finger Lakes Land Trust, Cayuga Lake Aug. 2, 2017, 4PM. FLLT Facebook post Aug 3.

(JULY 31, 2017) Blue-green algae blooms, also known as HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms), have been visually identified in the southern end of Cayuga Lake. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has confirmed blooms on each side of the lake. The Tompkins County Health Department (TCHD) and the DEC are regularly monitoring the situation. We appreciate the information and photographs reported to date by members of the public.

For current “open” status of NYS Parks beaches and swimming sites, Click Here, then click the link under Current Beach Results to download a PDF. 

If you are planning to host a water event, please contact TCHD Environmental Health for guidance: (607) 274-6688. Beaches may be closed due to the presence of HABs. Please contact the facility operator directly for more information. There is no concern with public water supplies at this time.

Health Department is advising individuals that they should be aware of the possibility and know how to identify and report blooms they might discover.

  • If water appears discolored or has an unpleasant odor, do not drink the water and avoid contact with it.
  • To identify harmful and non-harmful algae blooms click here for a photo gallery.
  • If you see a suspicious bloom, stay out of the water and report the bloom to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation by filling out a Suspicious Algal Bloom Report Form online. Follow instructions on the form for submitting the completed form.
  • If you are not on a public water supply, household water treatment such as Ultraviolet (UV), boiling, or chlorinating will not make your water safe for use. During a bloom, do not drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with water from the lake or from beach wells.
  • If contact occurs with suspicious blue-green algae, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae, including dogs that may have gone in the water.
  • Report any HAB-related health symptoms to the NYS Department of Health at, or call the Tompkins County Health Department at (607) 274-6604.
  • Click here for more local information in the TCHD July 31 press release.
  • For more information about HABs
    click here for the NYS Dept of Health site
    click here for the NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation site.

POSTER (PDF download):  HAB Awareness Poster

NYSDOH image for blue green algae awareness 2017

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Cyanobacteria (EPA website)