The Watertown Daily Times is reporting that Black Lake in the St. Lawrence valley has been hit by a nasty outbreak of cyanobacteria.
Commonly known as blue-green algae, the living sludge has also plagued beaches in the Champlain Valley this summer, posing a serious health risk to swimmers and pets.
According to the newspaper, Black Lake Association president Richard Henderson blamed the outbreak on untreated waste entering the lake:
“These bacteria thrive on elevated levels of phosphorus in the water (mainly from poop as far as Black Lake is concerned) and proliferate when the water and air temperatures are extremely warm,” Mr. Henderson wrote.
He said leaking septic tanks and the warm summer have provided the bacteria with prime breeding conditions.
Algae blooms are capable of producing a harmful toxin called microcystin that can cause serious reactions in people and animals.
“The toxin level was extremely high compared to most blooms on lakes around New York State,” Mr. Henderson wrote.
The state Conservation Department is actually tracking blue green algae blooms statewide. You can find their map off affected lakes here.