Updated Owasco Lake harmful algal bloom reports show anatoxin

The Owasco Lake Watershed Inspection Program has added a new column to its harmful algal bloom page — anatoxin levels. The relatively new toxin for Owasco Lake’s algae blooms is still showing up at fluctuating concentrations.

The usual toxic culprit seen in Owasco Lake harmful algae is called microcystin. A kind of liver toxin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a 10-day health advisory guideline for drinking water and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, too, utilizes a threshold to determine a harmful algae bloom.

But there really are no guidelines for anatoxin, a kind of neurotoxin, not even advisory levels from the EPA. Still, Greg Boyer, director of the New York’s Great Lakes Research Consortium and a professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, was concerned when levels from a sample taken Sept. 12 showed anatoxin at 18.55 micrograms per liter compared to the previous detections of 0.13 and 0.81.

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