Friday, July 14, 2017


Toxins continue to flourish in Prospect Park Lake. The "widespread/lakewide" presence of high toxins in Prospect Park Lake from blue-green algae (BGA) blooms was reconfirmed on July 12th through a lab sample taken by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Toxins from blue-green algae can harm people and animals. All people and all animals should stay out of the lake and away from its shoreline. The DEC offers this advice and more:

  • Swimmers should be concerned about HABs (Harmful Algal Blooms) in any lake in which they are considering swimming.
  • Never drink untreated surface water, whether or not algae blooms are present.
  • The New York Freshwater Fishing Guide advises anglers to avoid eating fish caught from areas that have the thick paint-like or pea soup-like coloration characteristic of cyanobacteria blooms.
  • HABs cells can stick to animal fur and become concentrated when the animal cleans itself.

The latest announcement on the Prospect Park Alliance website about the toxic condition states that
"To minimize the risk of exposure to blooms, the Peninsula has been closed to dog swimming. Dog Beach currently remains open and will be monitored on a weekly basis. Please continue to check this website for updates as environmental conditions may change the presence of algal blooms."
When the blooms are widespread, as they are in Prospect Park Lake, they can affect either the entire lake (as they're now doing), a large portion of the lake, or most to all of the shoreline. 

Blue-green algae is cyanobacteria. A BGA bloom can make water look like pea soup or like green, blue, or red paint. Or, mats of blue or green pond scum can be floating on the water surface or might have accumulated along the shoreline.

Photos of the various appearances that the toxic blue-green algae blooms can have are posted on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) here.

If people or animals are exposed to a bloom, wash the skin with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water.

The possible effects of the toxins on living creatures are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, skin or throat irritation, allergic reactions, or breathing difficulties. The toxins can also affect the liver and nervous systems if a lot of water is swallowed.

Read more about this on the DEC's website.

If you believe you have been exposed to a bloom and are experiencing symptoms, get medical help immediately and contact the New York City Department of Health.