Public Health Sudbury & Districts have indicated that Lake Kagawong on Manitoulin Island has tested positive for blue-green algae. The health unit says samples taken by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on September 17th 2018 have tested positive for the species of bacteria that can produce toxins.
Residents are asked to keep an eye out for the algae blooms in other parts of the lake, which have an unsightly pea soup appearance and foul smell.
If residents see a bloom near their property or water intake line, they are asked to:
- Avoid using the water for drinking, bathing, or showering.
- Do not allow children, pets, or livestock to drink or swim in the bloom.
- Be aware that shallow drinking water intake pipes can pump in blue-green algae.
- Do not boil the water or treat it with a disinfectant, like bleach, because it breaks open the algae cells, which releases more toxins into the water.
- Do not rely on water jug filtration systems as they may not protect against the toxins.
- Avoid cooking with the water because food may absorb toxins from the water during cooking.
“Blue-green algal blooms have an unsightly pea soup appearance and foul smell, and can produce toxinism” Public Health Sudbury and Districts said in a release. “Residents should avoid using or drinking water from areas where blooms are visible.” The highest concentrations of toxins are usually found in blooms and scum on the shoreline. These dense accumulations pose the greatest potential risks to people and pets. The algae toxins can irritate a person’s skin and, if ingested, cause diarrhea and vomiting. If a person ingests high levels of toxin, they could suffer liver and nervous system damage.