blue-green algae

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A project that could reduce the amount of toxins in Oswasco Lake, a primary source of drinking water for about a dozen communities in Cayuga County, is stalled.

The goal of the Owasco Flats Wetland Restoration Project is to build the floodplain around Oswasco Lake with plants and basins that can naturally filter out the toxins in the water from the surrounding tributaries. Phase one of the project was approved for $700,000 in state funding back in 2011. Its designer Bruce Natale says they've been securing permits and contractors ever since.

Oswego County Health Department / File Photo

This spring's wet weather could make the blue-green algae problem worse later this summer.

It’s no secret that this has been a tremendously rainy spring, according to SUNY ESF biochemistry professor Greg Boyer. And that could set the stage for big algae blooms later this summer. Blooms rely on nitrogen and phosphorus that run into the lake, combined with hot and calm sunny days.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

To the unknowing observer, charcoal may seem like an unlikely solution to toxic algae blooms in Owasco Lake. But that’s what Auburn city officials are hoping to use to prevent those toxins from getting into the city’s drinking water, which is sourced from the lake.

Toxins from algae are known to make humans and animals sick, and there are possible long-term health implications.

Auburn Mayor Michael Quill says active charcoal, as it’s called, is well-suited to blocking those toxins.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The two candidates running in the 24th Congressional District converged in Auburn Wednesday to separately address the issue of toxins in Owasco Lake in Cayuga County, each trying to position themselves as better equipped to handle the problem that's affecting drinking water for voters in the region.

Oswego County Health Department / File Photo

The David C. Webb Memorial Park Beach on Oneida Lake in Constantia is closed until further notice because of a blue-green algae bloom. According to the Oswego County Health Department, the beach will stay closed until the blooms have cleared and they say it's safe to reopen.

The Constantia Children's Summer Recreation Program will also suspend all swimming activities at the park.