Blue-green algae warnings not keeping Sudbury swimmers from beach

Five beaches on Ramsey Lake have posted health unit warning signs about the hazards of blue-green algae, but not everyone is avoiding the water.

The Sudbury Health Unit has posted signs at Ramsey Lake warning of swimming in water with blooms present

Blue-green algae floating on Ramsey Lake in Sudbury, Ont. (Lilly Noble )

Five beaches on Ramsey Lake have posted Health Unit warning signs about the hazards of blue-green algae, but not everyone is avoiding the water.

Rylan Yade, public health inspector at the Sudbury health unit said blue-green algae is toxic and the warning signs are posted for a reason.

"We do recommend the beach goers do follow the instructions from the Sudbury and District Health Unit to avoid using the water for drinking, bathing, showering," Yade said, "do not let children, pets or livestock drink or swim in the bloom."

But for those swimmers who want to stay out of the heat this weekend, Dr.Charles Ramcharan said that if the blooms aren't visible, the water is likely safe.

Ramcharan, who researches aquatic biology at Laurentian University's Living with Lakes Centre, said that people should be able to gauge themselves whether to avoid the water.   

"If you're sensitive and you know it then it would be a good idea to stay away," he said, "but I think people can use their own judgement about how bad it is for them, decide whether they want to swim or not."

The Sudbury District Health Unit warns the public when blooms of blue-green algae are visible and said that 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.

So far, Ramsey Lake, Hannah Lake and Lake Wanapitei have all been confirmed as having blue-green algal blooms.

The beaches on Ramsey Lake that have the posted warning signs for blue-green algae are: Main, Amphitheatre, New, Canoe Club and Bell Grove. Moonlight beach is not affected.

With files from Angela Gemmill. Edited/packaged by Casey Stranges


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