MAYVILLE - For the second time in a few weeks, the county Health Department has had to shut down swimming at a public beach.
On Monday, Lakeside Park beach in Mayville was closed because of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae 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 humans and animals if ingested.
On July 30, the county Health Department had to close Lakewood Village Beach at Richard O. Hartley Park for a few days for the same reason. Mark Stow, county environmental health director, said it will probably take a few days before Lakeside Park beach can be reopened to swimmers.
Signs warning people not to swim in Lakeside Park beach in Mayville.
P-J photo by Dennis Phillips
''We have to wait for the bloom to dissipate and we have to send in samples to New York state,'' he said. ''It is likely to be closed for some time. It may go through the rest of this week. The state has to confirm the toxin levels have subsided to the point where it is safe to open the beach again.''
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, this includes nuisance aquatic weeds and algae in lakes. County Health Department officials have urged all residents to be cautious when recreating in area lakes, especially if weeds or algae are present. Weeds can restrict swimmer's movements making it dangerous, especially for beginner swimmers and children.
Stow said even though the algae can release toxin, no human deaths have been connected to it. For more information on beach closings in the county, visit www.co.chautauqua.ny.us/departments/health/pages/beachmonitoring.aspx.