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Bacteria, blue-green algae closes several Suffolk beaches, officials say

Tanner Park Beach in Copiague is shown in

Tanner Park Beach in Copiague is shown in this July 13, 2018 file photo. Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

Three Suffolk County beaches remained closed to swimming Friday, given the presence of higher than acceptable bacteria levels, health officials said. And, residents also are urged to avoid seven other beaches with a confirmed presence of blue-green algae. 

Because of the potential health ramifications from bacteria, the following beaches are closed, according to health officials: Lake Ronkonkoma and Benjamin's Beach in the Town of Islip and Copiague’s Tanner Park Beach.

People can experience gastrointestinal illness and infections of the eyes, ears, nose and throat from swimming in bacteria-contaminated water, said Dr. James Tomarken, the county’s health commissioner, in a news release Friday.

Once further testing shows that the bacteria have moved back to acceptable levels, beaches will be reopened, health officials said. Sound Beach Property Owners’ Association West Beach and Beech Road Beach in Brookhaven have reopened.

From May to September the county takes samples of beach water to monitor its quality, with an eye to protecting public health.

To learn the latest on the status of affected beaches, call the bathing beach hotline at 631-852-5822 or the Department's ecology office at 631-852-5760 during normal business hours.

In addition, because of the confirmed presence of blue-green algae, residents are urged to steer clear of the waters of Wainscott Pond in East Hampton, Suffolk health officials said Friday.

That means no swimming or wading in the water, and keeping children and pets away, officials said.

A continuing presence of blue-green algae also means avoiding waters of Agawam Lake and Mill Pond, Southampton; Roth Pond at Stony Brook University; Laurel Lake in Laurel; Maratooka Lake, Mattituck; and Fresh Pond, Shelter Island.

Any water looking “scummy or discolored should be avoided,” health officials said. If contact does occur, rinse off with clean water and see a doctor for symptoms that can include nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; skin, eye or throat irritation; and allergic reactions or breathing difficulties, the health department said.

Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is naturally present in low numbers, but can increase, forming blooms of green, blue-green, yellow, brown or red, as well as floating scum, the county health department said in a release Friday.

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