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Algae toxins no longer detected in Skaneateles Lake

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Skaneateles Lake in 2017.

Updated at 8am Saturday, August 11

According to data from the Onondaga County Health Department, no toxins have been detected at the water intake pipes in Skaneateles Lake for the last three days. On August 7, tests showed 0.3 parts per billion of mycrocystins, the lowest possible detection level. Starting August 8, the level of mycrocystins was undetectable. 

Original Story

A low level detection of algae toxins, 0.3 parts per billion of toxins known as microcystins, have been found in Skaneateles Lake, according to local and state health officials. The toxins were detected in untreated water during weekly testing. None were found after the water was treated. 

Skaneateles Lake is the drinking water source for several municipalities in central New York, including the city of Syracuse. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said treated water is safe to drink and testing will now continue daily until there is no detection.

“We are continuously monitoring, daily monitoring,” Gupta said. “City is working very closely with us. We work with the state and DEC very closely. We do work day and night. Communications happen throughout 24-hour cycle. My phone is at my bedside and I’ll pick it up if that is what is needed.”

Increased chlorination of the drinking water will also continue.

Two beaches along Skaneateles Lake that were closed earlier this week because of algal blooms have since been reopened. Gupta said people should not swim in the water if blue green algal blooms are visible.

“It is very crucial that people’s participation is very important in this,” Gupta said. “If you see something, say something. That is important. But don’t panic. Work with us because we are there to work with you.”

If algal blooms are present, Gupta said call, text or send pictures to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. This is the second year algal blooms have appeared in Skaneateles Lake. 

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.