This is the first-ever compilation of results of sampling of New York lakes, ponds and bays by two state agencies for the presence of the toxins released by cyanobacteria. The naturally occurring organism, also known as blue-green algae, are a growing problem in water bodies from one end of the state to another. The Democrat and Chronicle obtained sampling results from the state departments of health and environmental conservation, in part through a Freedom of Information law request. The Department of Health began sampling lakes for cyanotoxins in 2009; the DEC began last year. At present there is no funding to continue sampling beyond next year.
Click here for a map showing the 41 state lakes where algae levels were found to be above safety guideline levels, and read more about the issue in Steve Orr's Watchdog Report: "Toxins from algae found in New York lakes"Notes on data:
- Samples were collected for the state Department of Health (DOH) or Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). A small number are labelled "ESF" for the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry, which collected or analyzed some samples for the health department.
- Spelling has been corrected in the names of some lakes. Designations such as "north" or "B1" refer to pre-determined sampling locations on those lakes.
- In a few cases the name of the town in which a lake is located was not provided or is not included because the lake falls in more than one town.
- Lab results for many samples collected last year were not available. Officials say analysis was prioritized and the samples not yet reported likely contained little or no cyanotoxin.
- "Sample type" refers to where the water sample was collected. "Bloom" means in or near an active bloom of blue-green algae; "non-bloom" usually means in a lake's open water.