Dept. of Health: Harmful algal blooms down to only 5 locations; where not to take your dog swimming

Local News

In the past two weeks, the total number of locations with harmful Algal Bloom levels has now dropped from 20 to five around Erie County. This total is a significant decrease from what the lakefront has experienced over the summer.

Although the Department of Health’s warnings are only in a handful of locations, residents are reminded to keep their dogs out of lake waters where the algal bloom levels exceed the dog safety threshold.

Dog swimming is currently not permitted in the following locations around Erie County:

  • Eaton Reservoir
  • Erie Yacht Club
  • Perry Monument
  • Smith Reservoir
  • Sturgeon Bay
  • Walnut Creek

Harmful algal blooms are the rapid growth of algae or cyanobacteria that can cause harm to people, animals, or the local ecology.

They can look like foam, scum, paint, or mats on the surface of water and can be different colors. These blooms can produce toxins that make people and animals sick, according to the CDC.

According to the Erie County Department of Health, the threshold for dogs is lower than for people because when dogs swim, they tend to ingest the water. They also lick their fur when they get out of the water, and have tendencies to eat the algal mats. Because of this, dogs are more susceptible to receiving a higher dose of toxins than people. This is also why it is recommended to wash your dog off as soon as possible after exiting the water.

It is also recommended that you keep an eye on small children, as they could accidentally ingest water while playing in it. If there is a concern that small children could ingest the water, it is recommended that you keep them out of the water as well.

How do I protect my family and pets?

  • Do not enter a lake, river or creek adjacent to a sign that is posted for HABs.
  • Know what a bloom looks like and avoid bodies of water that smell bad, look discolored, have foam, scum or algal mats, or have dead fish/animals in the area of the shoreline.
  • Keep pets and livestock out of water that is posted for a HAB or that appears have signs of a bloom.
  • Wash off with soap and water any people or animals that have been in contact with waters that may have a bloom.
  • Do not drink or use water with signs of HABs.
  • Do not allow pets or children to play or eat algal mats or to drink the water.
  • Contact your doctor or veterinarian if you, your family, or your pet exhibits symptoms.
  • If in doubt, stay out.

Visit Beach Sampling Results – Erie County, PA (eriecountypa.gov) for a real time look at swimming advisories and harmful algal bloom warnings.

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