Health & Wellness

Mohegan Lake Closed for Swimming After Reports of Harmful Algal Blooms

Mohegan Lake, pictured on July 15. Credits: File Photo/Brian Marschhauser

MOHEGAN LAKE, N.Y. – Harmful algal blooms have been reported at Mohegan Lake, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

According to the state, Mohegan Lake is one of 39 waterbodies in New York—and one of two in Westchester (Lake Rippowam in South Salem)—that has had reports of harmful algal blooms. A sample taken on July 4, according to the state, confirmed that Mohegan Lake has “cyanobacteria” blooms (blue-green algae), “which may produce toxins or other harmful compounds.”

The July 4 sample was an “open water sample,” meaning it was collected near the center of the lake. According to the state, this “may indicate that the bloom is widespread and conditions may be worse along shorelines or within recreational areas.”

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Ken Belfer, president of the Mohegan Lake Improvement District, said the results of the sample were disappointing but not unexpected. The sample, he said, showed toxins produced by blue-green algae were above the acceptable limit.

“We know we have an ongoing problem, that’s nothing new,” Belfer said. “The appearance of the lake has ranged from acceptable to poor in the last two weeks.”

Belfer said the lake is scheduled to be treated with copper sulfate tomorrow (July 27). At that time, samples will also be taken, Belfer said.

“We’re hoping this next treatment makes a difference,” Belfer said.

For now, he said, the lake is closed for swimming and nearby homeowners have been alerted. On Facebook, the improvement district also noted that "four-legged-friends are particularly susceptible to illness caused by these toxins, and keep them out of the water as well."

The Mohegan Lake Improvement District is a special tax district comprising homeowners from around the lake and set up for the purpose of preserving and improving the lake environment. It is comprised of volunteer directors and officers.

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