Toxic blue-green algae have been detected at Lake Marratooka in Mattituck and residents are being asked to avoid swimming and to keep children and pets away from the area.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation had confirmed that the lake, which is located across from Mattituck High School on Main Road, has high levels of blue-green algae known as “toxic cyanobacteria,” according to a press release issued Monday by the Suffolk County Health Department.
Cyanobacteria has also been found at Lake Agawam in Southampton, and Big Reed Pond in Montauk.
“Residents who have been recently exposed to cyanobacteria at these water bodies and have symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties are advised to seek medical attention,” the release states. “Contact with waters that appear scummy or discolored should be avoided. If contact does occur, rinse off with clean water immediately.”
Although it’s natural for lakes and streams to have small amounts of blue-green algae, officials said it can form algae blooms and produce “floating scums on the surface of the water” or may cause the water to take on a “paint-like appearance.”
A Baiting Hollow resident, who declined to give his full name, said Monday he goes fishing at Lake Marratooka regularly and has noticed the water quality hasn’t been as bad as it has been in recent years.
“It comes and it goes,” he said as he packed up his equipment for the day. The fisherman added he’s “never seen someone swim in this lake in 20 years.”
For more information about blue-green algae, visit the Suffolk County’s website.