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Half-dozen beaches closed along Chautauqua Lake due to toxic algae

A half-dozen beaches along Chautauqua Lake were closed Friday because of contamination with suspected toxic algae, according to the Chautauqua County Health Department.

Closed are Bemus Point Beach, Lakewood Village Beach and four beaches at Chautauqua Institution. All were reported closed after water quality reports were listed as unsatisfactory because of blue-green algae. Only Mayville Lakeside Park beach was open, according to the Health Department.

The closings came a week to the day after a daylong children’s recreation program in Lakewood was kept from using the lake waters at the village beach because of reports of blue-green algae in the swimming area.

None of the beaches on Lake Erie in Chautauqua County were affected.

Toxic algae on Lake Erie has, to this point, been confined to western Ohio.

The microcystin toxin associated with the algae shut down the water plant in Toledo, Ohio, last weekend, leaving about 500,000 customers to depend on bottled water until the city’s water supply was deemed safe Monday.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Environmental Conservation added another body of water to its weekly list of those affected by blue-green algae blooms.

Besides Chautauqua Lake and the Allegany Reservoir, which have large localized blooms, Mill Pond, near Byron in Genesee County, was added Thursday.

The pond was confirmed to have widespread blue-green algae, according to the DEC report.

In all, 35 bodies of water statewide were on the updated DEC list released Friday.

Meanwhile, testing of Lake Erie this week by the Erie County Health Department revealed water free of microcystin, a toxin released from some algae blooms.

The toxin caused disruption to the water supply in Toledo.

“Erie County residents and all Western New Yorkers can rest easier knowing that microcystin is not a cause for concern locally, and that it is safe to drink our water, go to our beaches, and enjoy Lake Erie as we should,” said Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein in a prepared statement Friday.

The Health Department, in collaboration with the state Department of Health, conducted tests on water samples collected from 12 sites in Erie County, with results confirming that the microcystin toxin is not present in detectable levels.

Abnormally high levels of the toxin were detected last weekend near Toledo’s Lake Erie water intakes, prompting the local testing.