LAKEWOOD - Lakewood Village Beach has been reopened to swimmers.
On Thursday, Bill Boria, county water resource specialist, said after testing was done on the water quality around Lakewood Village Beach at Richard O. Hartley Park it was reopened to swimmers.
On Monday, county Health Department officials closed the beach to swimmers because of blue-green algae in the water. 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.
Boria said Monday's closing was the first of the year at Lakewood Beach.
Boria said the blue-green algae is caused by excessive nutrients in the lake. He said there are plans to reduce the nutrients going into the lake, but it takes time to implement. However, he said, depending on the weather, the blue-green algae blooms may dissipate.
"The blooms are associated with very calm water," he said. "Depending on wind direction, if we get wind from a certain direction that can break up the blooms and they may dissipate."
Boria said the blue-green algae problem this year seems to better than conditions were last year throughout the lake.
"This area of the lake appears to be the only area where there is a significant problem. We haven't seen the same problems we did last year, which was really widespread in the lake," he said. "We recommend people recreating in the lake if they see these floating mats of algae that looks like paint to avoid the area. Keep pets and children out of the water. If you need to enter the water to launch a boat or something, just wash off afterwards."
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.