ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Cayuga County Health Department officials went door-to-door in part of Genoa on Thursday to warn people to not swim in Cayuga Lake near their property until Friday.
About 60 homes were notified that a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had applied the herbicide Endothall to hydrilla near Don’s Marina a week earlier than scheduled.
Hydrilla is an invasive aquatic plant that shades out native species and can limit oxygen to fish.
Michael Greer is with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He said the swimming restriction is always announced in advance when hydrilla is treated. It’s out of a concern for public safety and to allow the herbicide to mix with the plants.
“The only concern with contact there would be to undiluted or powder forms of the herbicide,” he said.
Eileen O’Connor is Director of Environmental Health with the Cayuga County Health Department. She said that as of Friday the Department had not heard from anyone with symptoms related to contact with the herbicide.
“People could have skin irritation or possibly some respiratory issues. If you feel any of these you should see your medical provider,” she explained.
The Army Corps of Engineers is taking water samples to confirm the herbicide is fully dissipated.