What lurks in these waters?

When the weather gets nice, Marty Martina of Pittsford paddleboards on the Erie Canal. His girlfriend wants him to stop, worried he's being exposed to dangerous water.

"She's worried about me even touching the water," Martina said.

So Martina asked Pat Taney to find out if that's true.

On the canal, there are two schools of thought when it comes to public perception. Those who feel it's clean and safe to swim in and others who feel it's dirty and not safe.

So what lurks in these waters?

Messenger Post's news partner, News10NBC, reached out to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the answer.

The agency performs tests on the waterways. It does publish the results online, but interpreting the numbers and terminology is tricky.

They were asked to break it down. Their response: the canal in our area is labeled as being clean, having only what the DEC calls "minor impacts."

That's mainly due to nutrients or runoff from farms, nothing that could cause any health issues.

A department spokesperson says boating, paddleboarding, and fishing is okay but swimming is not encouraged.

Here's where it gets tricky. Detailed water tests are performed in our area every five years.

According to the documents, the last one was done about three years ago, which means more tests are due soon. The next test is scheduled for sometime in 2020 in the canal that runs through Pittsford and Fairport.

While that's still two years off, the DEC assures that it's okay to paddleboard away -- Martina's safety is not at risk.

A big reason why people don't think the canal is clean has to do with history. There are two sites along the water in Pittsford where contamination occurred decades ago -- the old Monaco oil site and other is a former DOT storage facility.

Both were once located on Monroe Avenue and at both sites chemicals may have leaked into the water. According to the DEC, both sites went through extensive cleanup and no longer pose a threat.