New Brunswick

Blue-green algae in Moncton's water supply

For the second year in a row, blue-green algae are being detected at Turtle Creek Reservoir, Greater Moncton's source of drinking water.

For the 2nd year in a row, the algae are present at Turtle Creek Reservoir

Nicole Taylor is the director of utilites for the City of Moncton. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

For the second year in a row, blue-green algae are being detected at Turtle Creek watershed, Greater Moncton's source for drinking water.

The bacterial organisms can produce toxins harmful to human health and fatal to pets and livestock.

This summer's presence of the gelatinous substance in the water supply is not a complete surprise, according to Nicole Taylor, director of utilities at the City of Moncton.

"The fact that you've got it, it does put you at higher risk for getting it again."

For now, the city said, the water remains safe to drink and staff continue to monitor the situation daily.

Taylor said algae tend to lie dormant over the winter, reappearing as temperatures rise.

Tower Road reservoir is Greater Moncton's secondary water source. Blue-green algae were detected there last week for the second year in a row. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

"It's really difficult to predict."

Taylor said the city is working with two consultants to see what can be done to mitigate the problem.

"Our preference would be to try to deal with the issue in the watershed and try to prevent it from happening in future years,  but we're also looking at the potential treatment methods at the water treatment plant."

Taylor said Moncton's water treatment facility, located in Turtle Creek in Albert County, was not built to deal with algae.

She said it was commissioned in 1999. At the time, blue-green algae had not been a problem in Moncton for decades at least, so the city wasn't concerned.

The algae this summer have been found at the Tower Road reservoir, the city's secondary water source. Most water comes from the reservoir.

The city said there are currently no blooms, which are formed when the algae are present in large quantities. The gelatinous forms can gum up the water treatment facility.

About the Author

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.