Sudbury

Possible blue-green algae in Ramsey Lake: Sudbury health unit

Warning signs are posted at the main, amphitheatre, new, Canoe Club and Bell Grove beaches in Sudbury, Ont., advising the public to avoid drinking or swimming in the water while it's still being tested by the Ministry of Environment.

Tests being conducted on water at 5 beaches at Bell Park to confirm if bacteria is present

Tests are being done on 5 beaches at Bell Park in Sudbury, Ont., to determine if blue-green algae is present in Ramsey Lake. (Submitted by: University of Alberta)

Several beaches on Ramsey Lake in Sudbury, Ont., are being tested for blue-green algae.

The Sudbury and District Health Unit has posted warning signs at the main, amphitheatre, new, Canoe Club and Bell Grove beaches, advising the public to avoid drinking, swimming or allowing pets in the water.

Although the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is still conducting tests on water samples, Ramsey Lake has been added to the health unit's list of local waterways confirmed to have the toxic bacteria found in blue-green algae.

Officials with the health unit say the city's drinking water supply is not affected, if the algae is detected in the swimming areas. That's because the nearby David Street Water Treatment Plant.

"The health unit has been informed by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change that the plant has an effective barrier to all algae and can reduce the levels of algae toxins found in raw water," says Burgess Hawkins, manager of the environmental health division.

"This means that the municipal drinking water supply is protected."

Residents are advised to look out for the algae blooms, which can be identified by their pea-soup consistency and foul smell.

Toxins in the algae can cause skin irritation, diarrhea, vomiting, and in high levels, liver and nervous system damage.

Ramsey Lake is the third lake to be investigated for blue-green algae in the past month. St. Charles Lake, in the city's south end, and Whitson Lake in Val Caron, have both tested positive.

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