At the recent meeting of the New York Federation of Lakes (NYSFOLA), DEC explained this summer’s plan for testing Harmful Algae Blooms (HABS). HABS are blue green algae species that contain toxins in the cells. When the cells die they release the toxins into the water. The prevalent blue green algae in Ballston Lake are microcystis and contain the neuron toxin microcystin.
1. HABS usually in water over 76 degrees, July and August
2. Floats on the surface to get close to the sun
3. If it is too hot it sinks below the surface
4. Easily blown by wind to accumulate on the east side of the lake.
5. Gets matted around docks, weeds, boats , and coves.
6. Looks like green paint, sometimes with a white crust.
7. Wind and waves can disperse the accumulation.
8. Is usually evident in the morning before it gets hot and when wind is minimal.
9. The toxin concentration is greatest near the shoreline.
If you see what you think is a HAB please contact Dave Pierce at 399-6308 and I will come to your house to take a water sample. We should have the results of tests back in 2 days. In the meantime you should avoid swimming in a dense algae scum. Especially at risk are pets who may drink this water and small children. It is usually safe to swim at the end of your dock or off a boat away from the shoreline. It is always best to rinse off after being the lake to remove any lake water bacteria, toxins, or microscopic creatures.