The Sudbury and District Health Unit and the Ministry of the Environment are currently investigating a possible blue-green algal bloom at Moonlight Beach on Ramsey Lake.
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 present at the beaches. If no bloom is present, water can be used for regular recreational activities.
The advisory does not currently apply to Amphitheatre, Main, Canoe Club, New and Bell Grove beaches on Ramsey Lake.
The City of Greater Sudbury is working closely with the Sudbury and District Health Unit 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, manager in the city's 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, call the Sudbury and District Health Unit at 705-522-9200, ext. 398 or visit www.sdhu.com.