A “blue-green algae” bloom has been confirmed in Peconic Lake in Calverton and in Marratooka Pond in Mattituck, according to the Suffolk County Health Department, which is urging people not to swim or wade in these waters.
Those water bodies were among nine East End waters where recent sampling performed by SUNY/Stony Brook scientists has confirmed new cyanobacteria blooms, more commonly known as blue–green algae, according to Grace Kelly-McGovern, a spokeswoman for the county health department.
Peconic Lake, also known as Forge Pond, is part of the Peconic River system and is new to the list of water bodies with blue-green algae. It has a private beach club on it, as well as a state Department of Environmental Conservation boat launching ramp.
Marratooka Pond in Mattituck has been consistently listed by the county as containing blue-green algae over the past few months and even years. The pond is surrounded by houses and is not a public swimming location, although it is used for fishing.
Though blue-green algae are naturally present in lakes and streams in low numbers, they can become abundant and form blooms mostly in shades of green but also in shades of blue-green, yellow, brown or red, officials said.
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,” according to a health department release. “If contact does occur, rinse off with clean water immediately. Seek medical attention if any of the following symptoms occur after contact: nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; skin, eye or throat irritation; or allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.”
To report a suspected blue-green algae bloom at a body of water that does contain a Suffolk County-permitted bathing beach, contact the Suffolk County Department of Health Services’ Office of Ecology at 631-852-5760 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. or by email at any time at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about blue-green algae, visit the Suffolk County website.
Top photo: Marratooka Pond in Mattituck. (Credit: Tim Gannon)