Conditions not right for blue-green algae to bloom on reservoir

It may always be there, but right now officials say conditions are not conducive to the blue-green algae bloom which has persisted on the Allegheny Reservoir.

Doug Helman, Kinzua Dam resource manager, said on Tuesday, “There is always blue-green algae in the lake,” but right now it’s “not dangerous.”

Current conditions are not conducive to the algae such as lots of inflow and low water temperature, but when the water warms up and the flows decrease the algae start reproducing.

As a result, people can see it on the surface of the water. Following greater inflow and lower temperatures, Helman said, the algae stops reproducing again.

Last August, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Pittsburgh District alerted visitors about a blue-green algae bloom in the Allegheny Reservoir. The Corps was notified about the algae bloom by the New York State Department of Health on Aug. 30. Corps officials tested the effected water and determined that the bloom could be harmful to humans and pets if they came in contact with the algae.

“Children and pets are the most susceptible to the effects of blue-green algae. Visitors are encouraged to avoid areas where the algae is present,” the Corps said in a press release last August.

Testing continues once a month, Helman said, when water quality officials from Pittsburgh visit the area and take multiple samples.

Last November, U.S. Corps of Engineers found blue-green algae to be more concentrated in Willow Bay, right on the Pennsylvania side of the waters, below the border with New York State.

“All we can do is wait and see if it develops or not,” Helman said.