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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lake Water User? Read This!

Sturgeon Lake Blue-Green Algae Confirmed!

CITY OF KAWARTHA LAKES –Using Eastern Sturgeon Lake Water? Stop!   Blue-green algae - a deadly, but naturally occurring water condition, was confirmed by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment for parts of the eastern leg of Sturgeon Lake as shown in the map to the  left, between Sturgeon Point and Bobcaygeon in the  City of Kawartha Lakes.This occurrence of blue-green algae has prompted a water-use warning for the area.

Do Not Enter Blue-Green Algae Affected Water

Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is advising residents in the affected area to find an alternate source of water for all purposes, including drinking, cooking, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, and providing water to pets. Both people and pets should be kept from entering or swimming in the water.Fish caught from the affected parts of the lake should not be eaten either.

What is Blue Green Algae?

'Blue-green' algae are not actually true algae, but are microscopic organisms called Cyanobacteria. Blue-green algae grow in the summer in calm, warm, shallow water that is rich in nitrogen and phosphorous, and often gives the water a pea soup appearance, Blue-green algae are not always visible on the surface of the water. Generally, they become visible when they are present in large numbers in one area, blue-green algae 'blooms.' A bloom can be detected by a bright green colouration in the water or at the water surface. It may look like thick pea soup, green paint, or green cottage cheese. Blue-green algae mats may smell like freshly cut grass. When the micro-organisms die toxins are released which can persist for up to three weeks in the water after the bloom is no longer visible. Blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake by the wind. image

Blue Green Algae-Health Dangers

‘The problem is, that when the blue-green algae is dying or disturbed, it can produce toxins in the water that put the health of people and animals at risk,' says Richard Ovcharovich, Manager of Environmental Health with the HKPR District Health Unit.
‘Drinking or using the water for any purpose in areas where blue-green algae is present is not recommended, as it can lead to a whole host of problems,’says Ovcharovich. Drinking water with these toxins may result in headaches, fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting.The toxins have even been known to cause liver, and nervous system damage.
Bathing or showering in water with blue-green algae can result in skin rashes, swollen lips, eye irritation and redness, ear ache and itchiness, sore throat, hay fever-like symptoms and asthma. Anyone who experiences these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. 'Boiling water does not help in these situations, as the process just kills the algae resulting in the release of more toxins into the water,' Ovcharovich adds.

All Lake Water Users Urged- Exercise Caution

Local residents are urged to be watchful for algae bloom spreading to other areas of the lake. If this happens, people should avoid swimming and using the water,and notify the Health Unit. The Health Unit’s advisory is in effect until further notice. This advisory does not affect people who use municipal water systems, or those residents who draw water from drilled wells that are not affected by the surface water. For more information, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577 or visit under the ‘What’s New’ section. Find out more about blue Green Algae on the HKLPR Health Unit Website
DON'T USE THE WATER Blue-Green Algae Confirmed For A Section Of Sturgeon Lake -HKPR Media Release

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