The weather conditions are perfect for the first algae blooms of the season. You must stay away from the toxic algae as it can cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions, and breathing difficulties.

HABs are harmful algal blooms that can produce toxins that pose a severe threat to people, pets, livestock, the environment, and New York's drinking water supplies. The DEC says it's triggered by a combination of water and environmental conditions that include:

  • Excess nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen)
  • Lots of sunlight
  • Low-water or low-flow conditions
  • Calm water
  • Warm temperatures

The toxic HABs may disappear quickly or persist for several weeks or more. While the exact cause of HABs is not fully known, it usually occurs in waters high in phosphorus and/or nitrogen that used to be commonly found in lawn fertilizer.

The DEC Encourages New Yorkers To "KNOW IT, AVOID IT, REPORT IT."

  • KNOW IT – naturally occurring harmful algal blooms, 'HABs,' vary in appearance from scattered green dots in the water to long, linear green streaks, pea soup, or spilled green paint, to blue-green or white coloration.
  • AVOID IT – People, pets, and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scums on the surface.
  • REPORT IT – If members of the public suspect a HAB, report it through the NYHABs online reporting form.

What Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Look Like:


HABs may look like parallel streaks, usually green, on the water surface.



HABs may look like green dots, clumps or globs on the water surface.



HABs may look like blue, green, or white spilled paint on the water surface.



HABs may make the water look bright green or like pea soup.

HABs can cause health effects in people and animals when water with blooms is touched, swallowed, or when airborne droplets are inhaled.

The DEC says people, pets, and livestock should avoid contact with any floating mats, scums, or discolored water. Colors can include shades of green, blue-green, yellow, brown, or red.

Never drink, prepare food, cook, or make ice with untreated surface water, whether or not algae blooms are present. In addition to toxins, untreated surface water may contain bacteria, parasites, or viruses that could cause illness if consumed. People not on public water supplies should not drink surface water during an algal bloom, even if it is treated.

Treatments such as boiling, disinfecting water with chlorine or ultraviolet (UV), and water filtration units do not protect people from HABs toxins.

Go here for the latest beach water test results.

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