Blue-green algae, which could be toxic, has been found in the waters of Dalhousie Lake as well as Mississippi Lake, according to an aquatic biologist for the area’s conservation authority.
Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, produce toxic compounds as they break down, which can be harmful and – at high levels and long exposures – potentially fatal to humans. The compounds generally break down as they are mixed with cooler and deeper water.
“So far the levels seen have been around or under the drinking water standard and nowhere near severely toxic levels,” Dr. Paula Stewart, medical officer of health for the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, said in an email to the Citizen.
Algae blooms are typically associated with high rain levels, higher levels of runoff and sewage spills into waterways. Although researchers are still debating exactly what causes the blooms to pop up as sporadically as they do.
It’s not the first time that the blue-green algae has been found in area waterways. In August, blooms of the algae were collected by officials with Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment in a bay of Upper Rideau Lake.
According to a release from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, warmer summer-like weather and low wind conditions in the area have combined to create unusual algae blooms on Dalhousie and Mississippi Lakes this September. The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has tested the water and confirmed a blue-green algae growth in both lakes.
Waterfront owners and recreational users are advised not to swim in or use the lake water for drinking or bathing while the problem persists. Boiling or treating the water does not make it safe to drink and may, in fact, increase its toxin levels. For more information, visit ontario.ca
Photo caption: Blue-green algae has been found in other area waterways.
View original article at: Blue-green algae found in more area waterways