I have not been to one of these conferences in many years, and I found it to be a very informative day. During the morning, I attended four sessions that explained the additions and changes to the Citizen's Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP). As you know the BLIA has been a participant in this program since 1991.
The afternoon sessions I attended concentrated on the problem of Blue Green Algae. This is a different form of algae than what we are seeing in Ballston Lake this spring. The Blue-Green Algae blooms occur in July and August when Lake and air temperatures are at their peak. These blooms can be other colors, including yellow, brown, white or purple. It is important to understand that these blooms have the potential to affect the health of humans and animals. I was told that experts in this field cannot tell if a bloom is a hazard just by looking at it. A sample of the bloom must be tested to determine if it contains harmful toxins.
How do we approach a algae bloom? We must make certain that children and pets stay out of the water and avoid the area. If someone has been in the water, be sure that they shower thoroughly. Boiling, freezing and in home treatment systems do not remove these toxins. Treating this type of bloom by adding chemicals to the lake is not effective. When the cells of the bloom die, the toxins are released. It is more effective to allow nature to take its course and deal with this problem so excessive toxins are not released.
The Blue-Green Algae bloom problem was recognized by the New York State Department of Health as a possible threat to humans only ten years ago. This means we do not have much research in this area at the present time. This is the situation we face on Ballston Lake this summer. Most of the blooms tested over the past few summers on Ballston Lake have not shown a level of toxins that would be harmful to humans and pets.
In the event a bloom is suspected, caution and common sense must be used at this time to avoid problems. To report a significant bloom, please call Dave Pierce at 399-6308 or Pete Herman at 399-5803. We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer season on the Lake.
Pete Herman-BLIA President