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Blue-green algae found on French River

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Aug 29, 2014 - 3:24 PM |
Warnings like the one pictured have become a common sight at area beaches in the summer. File photo

Warnings like the one pictured have become a common sight at area beaches in the summer. File photo

Dry Pine Bay area tests positive for toxic growth

The Ministry of the Environment has advised the Sudbury & District Health Unit that results from samples taken Aug. 26 from the French River in the Dry Pine Bay area are positive for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

The samples contained a species of cyanobacteria that can produce toxins.

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 along the shore should look for blooms in their area.

Blue-green algal blooms have an unsightly pea soup appearance and foul smell, and can produce toxins. Residents should avoid using or drinking water from areas where blooms are visible.

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.

If you see a bloom near your property or water intake line:

· Avoid using the water for drinking, bathing, or showering, and do not allow children, pets, or livestock to drink or swim in the bloom;

· Be aware that shallow drinking water intake pipes can pump in blue-green algae;

· Do not boil the water or treat it with a disinfectant, like bleach, because it breaks open the algae cells, which releases more toxins into the water;

· Avoid cooking with the water because food may absorb toxins from the water during cooking;

· Exercise caution with respect to eating fish caught in water where blue-green algal blooms occur. Residents should not eat the liver, kidneys, and other organs of fish caught in the water;

· Do not rely on water jug filtration systems as they may not protect against the toxins.

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