The Durham Region Health Department and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has notified the Township of Scugog of a bloom of blue-green algae in water samples, taken from the Kinsmen Beach area of Lake Scugog during recent testing.
According to a township press release, laboratory test results were received from the Ontario MOECC on July 25th. As a precaution, a public advisory has been issued for the areas of Kinsmen Beach and to the south of the beach, while the Ministry continues testing for the toxin levels in the algae bloom.
The Region of Durham and Kawartha Conservation has advised, people can protect themselves and their pets from blue-green algae blooms by not swimming or playing in areas where water is discoloured, or, where foam, scum or mats of algae on the water’s surface are present. Children or pets should not play in nor drink water in areas where a beach advisory is posted. Consuming fish from areas where mats of algae are present or where a swimming advisory is posted is also not advisable.
“The Township of Scugog is working with the Durham Region Health Department to ensure the public is aware of the concerns surrounding the presence of blue-green algae in the Kinsmen Beach area,” said Mayor Tom Rowett, in a press release. “We’ll continue to monitor the situation and provide more information as results from testing of more water samples become available.”
The Region’s Health department is also investigating the presence of the same algae in Wagner’s Lake in Uxbridge.
Laboratory tests results from water samples for toxin levels in the algal blooms are pending. As a precaution, a public advisory has been issued for Wagner’s Lake, and residents are reminded not to use the lake as a source of drinking water.
Blue-green algae are microscopic, plant-like organisms occurring naturally in ponds, rivers, lakes and streams, and although often blue-green in colour, the algae can also be olive-green or red.
“This is the second occurrence of blue-green algae that has been found in Durham Region for this season,” said Laura Freeland, Manager, Environmental Health with the Health Department, in an Uxbridge press release. “As the summer progresses and weather conditions vary, there may be other occurrences across the Region. We’re advising residents to be cautious around blue-green algae as some can produce toxins which may be harmful to humans to drink, fish or bathe in water containing the algae.”
For more information about blue-green algae, please visit www.durham.ca, or call the Environmental Help Line, at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.