Health Department

What are Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)?

Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic organisms found naturally in surface water that can sometimes multiply to form harmful algal blooms (HABs).


Harmful algal blooms can:

  • Produce extremely dangerous toxins that can illness or irritation, sometimes even death, in pets, livestock and humans
  • Create dead zones in the water
  • Pose treatment challenges for public drinking water systems
  • Hurt industries that depend on clean water



Harmful algal blooms need:

  • Sunlight
  • Slow-moving water
  • Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus)

To learn more, click on Be Aware of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), published by the Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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