The health unit and the Ministry of the Environment are investigating a possible blue-green algal bloom at Main Beach on Ramsey Lake.
Water samples have been taken to confirm the presence of the toxic algae, but in the meantime officials are warning people to steer clear of the water if they see signs of a bloom. Be on the lookout for an unsightly pea soup appearance to the water and a foul smell.
Blooms and scum on the shoreline, where people and animals can most be found, have the highest concentratoins of toxin. This toxin can cause skin irritation. If ingested, however, things can get much more serious, and people can experience diarrhea and vomitting and, if a high enough concentration is ingested, liver and nervous system damage.
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 Moonlight, Amphitheatre, Canoe Club, New and Bell Grove beaches on Ramsey Lake.
At this time, water samples taken from the David Street Water Treatment Plant have not shown any signs of blue-green algae or its toxins.
The City of Greater Sudbury is working with the 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 the region's medical officer of health, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe.
Because blooms are not anchored, they can move from one location to another through wind and water action. All residents on lakes or rivers should look for blooms in their area.
For more information, please call the Sudbury and District Health Unit at 705.522.9200, ext. 398 or visit www.sdhu.com.
Posted by Arron Pickard