SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (AP) — New York environmental officials say they will stop issuing harmful algal bloom notifications for the winter, though they warn that they can still occur in colder weather.

Water contaminated by the blooms can make people sick. The algae, which is actually a type of bacteria, feeds on nitrogen and phosphorus washed in from farms, yards and leaking septic systems.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation says that harmful algal blooms can occur throughout the year, although fewer occur as temperatures drop.

The Adirondack Daily Enterprise reports that the DEC conducts sampling each year from May through October. This year, the DEC took thousands of samples on nearly 200 waterbodies around the state.

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