Blue-Green Algae Blooms Reported Across South Fork

New blooms of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, have been confirmed in Poxabogue Pond in Sagaponack and Old Town Pond in Southampton, while harmful algal blooms have also re-emerged in Georgica Pond in East Hampton and in Wainscott Pond.

The East Hampton Town Trustees issued a notice to the public on Monday that cyanobacteria in Georgica Pond exceed federal Environmental Protection Agency standards, and that the pond is completely closed to all recreational use until further notice. 

The State Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed the blooms in Poxabogue Pond and Old Town Pond on Friday. The D.E.C.'s announcement added that cyanobacteria blooms persist on the South Fork in Lake Agawam in Southampton, Wickapogue Pond, Coopers Neck Pond, and Little Fresh Pond in Southampton, Sagg Pond in Sagaponack, and Mill Pond in Water Mill.

Health officials have asked residents not to use, swim, or wade in these waters and to keep pets and children away from the area. Though naturally present in lakes and streams in low numbers, blue-green algae can become abundant, forming blooms in shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown, or red. They may produce floating scums on the surface of the water or may cause the water to take on paint-like appearance.

Contact with waters that appear scummy or discolored should be avoided. In case of contact, people and pets should rinse immediately with clean water and seek medical attention if nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; skin, eye, or throat irritation, or allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur after contact.

The County Department of Health Services' office of ecology can be contacted at 631-852-5760 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to report a suspected cyanobacteria bloom at a body of water that contains a county-permitted bathing beach. The office can also be contacted by email at scdhsweb@suffolkcountyny.gov.

To report a suspected blue-green algae bloom that is in a body of water that does not contain a county permitted bathing beach, residents have been asked to contact the D.E.C.'s division of water at 518-402-8179 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., or via email at habsinfo@dec.ny.gov.

The D.E.C.’s Harmful Algal Bloom notification page includes a comprehensive list of affected water bodies in New York State.