Sylvan and Verona Beaches still closed, awaiting test results

Swimming is prohibited at Sylvan Beach / photo: Andy Wolf

Officials and businesses in the Sylvan Beach area are anxiously awaiting the results of water sample tests after the beaches at Verona Beach and Sylvan Beach have been closed since last week.

Tuesday morning, Village of Sylvan Beach officials reported that the advisory against swimming remains in place. Samples were again taken Tuesday morning and sent to a laboratory in Albany for analysis. They say they do not think they will have the results back until late this afternoon.

New York State Parks officials say beaches at Verona Beach State Park remain closed because of the same algae concerns.

Last Thursday the two beaches were closed to swimming after the New York State Heath Department determined that the levels of blue-green algae exceeded state standards.

According to Oneida County Health Department spokesman Ken Fanelli, water samples were taken this morning at Sylvan Beach and are currently being analyzed by the State Health Department laboratory in Albany. Fanelli says he had hoped to receive preliminary results Monday afternoon, but the village now says those results will not be available until Tuesday.

Sylvan Beach Village Clerk Wanda Durant tells CNY Central's Jim Kenyon that the State Health Department "advised" the swimming restriction and Sylvan Beach is not under an "order" to close the beach to swimming. She says the decision to shut down the beach through the weekend was based on recommendations from the State Health Department, but "we don't want people to get sick."

As for Verona Beach, we're told that similar water samples were taken by the State Health Department this morning and are also being analyzed in Albany. Because Verona Beach is a state park, it comes under the separate jurisdiction of New York State.

We want to know what you think about this story. Are you concerned about the health risk that the algae could create? Or should people be able to decide for themselves if the risk is worth it? Leave a comment below and give us your opinion.