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Environmentalists: Algae blooms are a widespread threat


It’s not the first time that Basic Creek Reservoir has experienced an algae bloom, marked by a gooey green-blue tint to the water in the City of Albany’s backup water source.

Environmentalists say the bloom is a sign of foot-dragging by the state in creating buffers such as wetlands or catchments to protect the state’s water sources.

“This is a longstanding problem that New York has failed to resolve,” said Walter Hang, founder of Toxics Targeting, an Ithaca organization that tracks pollution across the state.

“Everyone is trying to play catchup,” he added during a press conference Wednesday at the State Capitol.

New York has 219 bodies of water that are known to undergo algae blooms, but few have been addressed despite laws that are supposed to protect the surrounding watersheds.

Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Shane Mahar said the agency is working on the problem “water body by water body every day.”

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