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Blue-Green Algae Is Taking Over Ontario Waters & Health Officials Are Warning It's Toxic

Health officials are warning not to go swimming.
Blue-Green Algae In Ontario Was Discovered In Multiple Lakes & It Is Toxic

You might want to double-check your local lake before going swimming. Toxic blue-green algae in Ontario has been discovered in multiple areas across the province. Coming into contact with it can cause stomach issues, skin irritation, and a fever.

Areas such as Kingston, Thunder Bay, Wildwood Reservoir, Lake Scugog in Port Perry and Manitouwabing Lake in the Township of McKellar have all reported sightings of this toxic algae. 

According to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit (TBDHU), the presence of the blue-green algae was found in a water sample on August 13.

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On August 20, Wildwood Conservation Area posted that "our beach is now closed due to the presence of blue-green algae".

In Kingston, a bloom was discovered at the Kingston Mills Locks, the Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health(KFLAPH) unit tweeted on August 25. 

Health units advise that swimming should be avoided for up to two weeks after the algae have disappeared, regardless of toxicity levels found at the time. 

The toxin production of algae blooms can stop and start depending on the environment, according to the TBDHU.

Pets should also be kept away from the water if blooms of the bacteria are present. 

According to Public Health units, algae blooms thrive in warm temperatures and shallow surface water with lots of sunlight exposure. 

KFLAPH Public Health says that the algae often is a blue-green colour, but can also turn yellow or even red and brown. 

If a bloom has thrived enough, it will blanket the water in a thick layer that looks like pea soup. 

This is a great time of year for these unwanted microscopic organisms to thrive.

According to Laura Freeland, Manager of Health Protection with the Health Department, “it’s not uncommon for lakes and rivers to experience blue-green algae blooms at this time of year," says a news release.

"Blooms are typically seen during mid to late summer and can continue into early fall. Blue-green algae can also occur as a result of an increase in water temperature.”

Make sure to stay away if you notice any in your area.

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