If the water looks gross my friends, chances are it is...

The Oneida County Health Department is warning the public to use caution after a cyanobacteria harmful algae bloom (HAB) has been found on Otter Lake.

Health officials say a likely cyanobacteria harmful algae bloom has also been found on Delta Lake and Turtle Pond, within the Delta Lake State Park but outside of the public beach.

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, most algae are harmless and are an important part of the food web. Certain types of algae can grow quickly and form blooms, which can cover all or portions of a lake. Even large blooms are not necessarily harmful. However some species of algae can produce toxins that can be harmful to people and animals.

People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algae scums on the surface. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red. If contact does occur, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae. It is also important to never drink untreated surface water, whether or not algae blooms are present. Untreated surface water may contain other bacteria, parasites or viruses, as well as cyanotoxins that could cause illness if consumed.

If you come into contact with a water source that contains a HAB, 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. Please report any health symptoms to your physician and NYS Department of Health at mailto:harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov or your local health department.

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