- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer says algae blooms are becoming a big problem in bodies of water around New York state and that the federal government needs to take action.

The Democrat said Wednesday that he’s urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to boost funding for programs that aim to reduce phosphorous runoff from farms that feed the algae.

State figures show that there have been 126 blue-green algae blooms in 87 bodies of water in upstate New York so far this year, a number which Schumer says is close to a record. The algae can worsen water quality, prompt beach closures and sicken fish, wildlife, pets and even humans who swim in or drink the water.

Schumer says aging wastewater systems are another factor, as occasional sewage overflows can promote algae growth.

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