LAKEWOOD - Because of blue-green algae issues, the Lakewood Village Beach at Richard O. Hartley Park was closed Monday.
According to the county's Health Department Beach Monitoring Program, the water at the beach in Lakewood was classified as unsatisfactory because of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae is a type of cyanobacteria that forms thick mats on the water surface resembling paint and can range in color from gray to various shades of yellow, green, blue or brown. Blue-green algal blooms can be a problem because they can release a toxin, which at high levels is harmful to human and animal health if ingested.
In June, the county's Health Department issued a news release warning people about the blue-green algae. Health Department officials said the mild winter and higher-than-normal temperatures has made summer bloom early throughout the region, unfortunately this includes nuisance aquatic weeds and algae in lakes. The Chautauqua County Health Department urged all residents to be cautious when recreating in area lakes, especially if weeds or algae are present. Weeds can restrict swimmer's movements that can be dangerous, especially for beginner swimmers and children.
Lakewood Village Beach closed on Tuesday because of threatening weather. The beach was closed Monday because of blue-green algae, which releases a toxin that at high levels can be harmful to human and animal health if ingested.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
Christine Schuyler, county public health director, said the real threat to public health from cyanobacteria is when people or pets drink water directly from a lake where a bloom is occurring.
''Lake water that is properly treated through an approved Health Department water treatment plant does not pose a risk. Swimming or recreating in areas where the water contains high levels of toxin does not pose a serious risk to public health, but it can cause skin irritation and other symptoms.'' Schuyler said.
Health department officials could not be reached for comment regarding Lakewood beach's water condition Tuesday.
According to employees at Lakewood Village Beach, the area was open for swimmers on Tuesday, but was closed at times when thunderstorms could be heard by lifeguards on duty. However, the beach employees said county Health Department officials did close the beach Monday because of water conditions.