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Algal blooms: Avoid parts of Ramsey Lake, Health Unit advises

The Sudbury & District Health Unit and the Ministry of the Environment are currently investigating a possible blue-green algal bloom at Canoe Club, Main, Amphitheatre and New Beaches on Ramsey Lake in the City of Greater Sudbury.
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Water samples taken Aug. 5, 2014, from Little Lake Panache in the eastern end of the Holmstedt Road area of Walden tested positive for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), said the Sudbury and District Health Unit. File photo.
The Sudbury & District Health Unit and the Ministry of the Environment are currently investigating a possible blue-green algal bloom at Canoe Club, Main, Amphitheatre and New Beaches on Ramsey Lake in the City of Greater Sudbury.

As a precaution, the Health Unit has posted signs advising the public to avoid swimming, drinking the water, and allowing pets into the water if the algal bloom is visible at the beaches. If no bloom is present, water can be used for regular recreational activities.

The advisory does not currently apply to Bell Grove beach on Ramsey Lake.

The City of Greater Sudbury is working closely with the SDHU and the Ministry of the Environment to monitor the situation.

“The Ministry of the Environment tells us that, should it be necessary, the David Street Water Treatment Plant has the technology to provide an effective barrier to all algae and can reduce the levels of algae toxins found in raw water,” said Burgess Hawkins, a manager in the Environmental Health Division.

Blue-green algae could also appear in other parts of the lake. Because blooms are not anchored, they can move from one location to another through wind and water action. New blooms can also form. All residents on lakes or rivers should look for blooms in their area.

Blue-green algal blooms have an unsightly pea soup appearance and foul smell, and can produce toxins.

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.

For more information about blue-green algea, please call the Sudbury & District Health Unit at 705.522.9200, ext. 398.


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