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> HABs Alert 2019-07-11

 N E W S   R E L E A S E 

Your Partner for a Healthy Community
Frank Kruppa — Public Health Director


Thursday, July 11, 2019

For questions regarding drinking water or recreational water activities, contact the Environmental Health Division: 607-274-6688
For HAB-related health symptoms, contact Community Health Services: 607-274-6604

HABs Alert: Harmful Blue-Green Algae Reported in Tompkins County

(Ithaca, N.Y., July 11, 2019) — Multiple blue-green algae blooms, also known as HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms), have been reported in the Tompkins County portion of Cayuga Lake this summer and monitoring is continuing. These blooms may be small in size and confined to specific areas of the shoreline and bays. Areas where blooms are not observed can continue to be used for recreational use.

The Tompkins County Health Department urges residents and visitors to beware of blue-green algae. These blooms can occur in any calm body of water and may produce toxins that are harmful to people and animals. Do not drink the water and avoid contact with the water if it appears discolored or has an unpleasant odor. To learn more about HABs and for links to other resources, click here:

Identifying HABs:

If contact occurs with suspicious blue-green algae

  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae. Rinse dogs that may have gone in the water so they do not lick their coats.
  • Stop using water and seek medical attention immediately if symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after drinking or having contact with blooms or untreated surface water.

The Cayuga Lake Watershed Network, Discover Cayuga Lake, and the Community Science Institute (CSI) have organized volunteers to conduct HAB monitoring in Cayuga Lake. These “HAB Harriers” have been trained to identify HABs and monitor selected locations on the shoreline on a weekly basis. The results are available on the CSI website:

HAB-related symptoms

Report any HAB-related health symptoms to the NYS Health Department by email to Or call the Tompkins County Health Department at 607-274-6604.

The Tompkins County Health Department is your partner for a healthy community. Find us online at, and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TompkinsHealth.