Hazardous blue-green algae is back in the Allegheny Reservoir.
According to a post on the Kinzua Dam Facebook page, run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "a Harmful Algae Bloom is occurring in the NY reach of the reservoir. Impacted areas include Quaker Bay, Sawmill Bay and (the) reach of the Allegheny Reservoir between Quaker Bay and Sawmill."
A press release from the Corps on Monday said, "Test results show that blooms in Quaker and Sawmill bays could be harmful to pets should they come in contact with the algae. The Corps also tested Willow Bay but at present no harmful algae bloom was detected."
Visitors are encouraged to avoid the areas where the algae is present and the Corps said that signs notifying the public of the health risks associated with the algae will remain in place for two weeks after the cell count of the bloom comes down to acceptable levels.
"The Corps will continue to test and monitor the effected waters weekly," the press release explained.
The Times Observer reported in July 2013 that the algae bloom, located at the same place last year, was not likely to come to the Pennsylvania portion of the reservoir because the water temperatures in New York are higher and the affected bays are shallower.
The algae is tested by cell count with less than 20,000 cells/ml considered to be of no risk to the public. Between 20,000 and 100,000 cells/ml falls in the range of a HAB (Hazardous Algae Bloom) Advisory level. Over 100,000 cells/ml indicates "a high risk for adverse health impacts" and is considered a HAB Caution, according to the Corps' Facebook post.
As of July 28, cell counts in Quaker Bay were 158,752 cells/ml and 34,013 cells/ml at Sawmill Bay.
"Children and pets are the most susceptible to the effects of blue-green algae," the Corps said. "Blue-green algae can generate toxins that can impact human, pet, livestock and fish health. It can cause allergic-type reactions, skin irritations, and in severe case liver or nervous system damage."
Algae blooms have been in the news as over 400,000 people in northwest Ohio, including the city of Toledo, were told not to drink their tap water over the weekend due to blooms in Lake Erie.