Sudbury

Summer weather playing a role in blue-green algae bloom increase, health unit says

The hot and dry weather this summer means people in Sudbury will start to see more algae blooms on the lake.

2 recent cases reported at 2 separate beaches at Ramsey Lake

Blue-green algae blooms have been reported in several lakes in Sudbury. (Halifax Regional Municipality photo)

The hot and dry weather this summer means people in Sudbury will start to see more algae blooms on the lake.

There have already been four reports of blue-green algae in the span of just a week.

Two of those reports, at Moonlight Beach and Ramsey Lake, have been confirmed through water tests.    

Jonathon Groulx is an environmental support officer with Public Health Sudbury.

"So it's not unusual. It's certainly a lot in one week, in a one week span," he said.

"But we've definitely had hits before on Ramsey, and expect to have it again in the future."

Groulx says the weather has been playing a role.

"It's been a hot, dry summer as well," he said.

"So, when you have the heat, you don't have the rain, you don't have the water turbulence, you're going to get greater amounts of visible algae blooms."

Keep an eye out

Groulx says the health unit is anticipating more visible algae blooms through the later part of the summer.

He says there's no way to completely eliminate blue-green algae blooms from waterways and lakes. However, he says people who live on the waterfront can take steps to reduce blue-green algae blooms, including limiting fertilizer use and maintaining their septic system.

People who live on the water should keep an eye out for blooms, Groulx said.

"If you see a bloom near your water intake, you want to avoid using that water for drinking [or] bathing," he said.

"Be aware that shallow drinking water intake pipes can pump in the blue-green algae."

He adds if there is blue-green algae near your water intake, find another source of water as boiling it won't make it safe.

"It's not like a bacteria contamination where boiling the water is effective at treating it," he said.

"The toxin would remain even after boiling."

Late last week signs were posted at the Amphitheater Beach at Bell Park that blue-green algae blooms on Ramsey Lake were being investigated. A week before that, water samples were taken from Moonlight Beach also on Ramsey confirmed the bacteria was present there. A few other local lakes including Lake Nepahwin and the west arm of Lake Nipissing also have recent reports of blue-green algae. That's four cases or suspected cases within a week in Greater Sudbury. Jonathon Groulx is an environmental support officer with the Environmental Health Division at Public Health Sudbury & Districts. He spoke to CBC reporter Angela Gemmill. 5:56

With files from Angela Gemmill

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