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Update on blue-green algae in Lake Nosbonsing

Saturday, September 15, 2012   by: Kate AdamsNorth Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit
News Release

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The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit wishes to advise all residents and cottagers of Lake Nosbonsing that blooms of blue-green algae have been detected at multiple locations in the lake.

Initial sample results indicate that this bloom is toxin producing, although the bacteria toxin concentration is still within the acceptable standard for drinking water. However, as the blue green algae bloom increases in size, toxin levels may increase.

The Health Unit advises residents who live in this area and any visitors to the area, to take the following precautions while the bloom is present and for three weeks after the bloom has disappeared:

 Avoid swimming and other water sport activities in the lake

 Do not allow pets or livestock to swim in the water or use it for drinking

 Owners of private water systems should avoid using the water from Lake Nosbonsing for drinking, cooking, bathing and showering because home treatment devices will not destroy the toxins. However, some specialized activated charcoal or carbon systems are available that will remove the toxins. Or, use an alternate source of water.

More information about Blue-Green Algae can be found at: healthunit.biz/EH-bluegreenalgaeinfo.asp

Quick Facts

 Blue-green algae, known as ‘pond scum’, are primitive microscopic bacteria that live in fresh water. They are usually hard to see, but during hot weather, they can rapidly grow to form a large mass, called a bloom.

 Toxins can irritate the skin and, if ingested, cause diarrhea and vomiting. At high enough levels, the toxins may cause liver and nervous system damage.

 If skin contact does occur, wash with soap and water, or rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae.

 Blue-green algae thrive in warm, shallow, undisturbed water that receives a lot of sunlight and is rich in phosphorus and nitrogen. Animal and human waste and fertilizers contain phosphorus and nitrogen.

DO NOT:
 boil the water or treat it with a disinfectant like bleach. This may release more toxins into the water.

 cook with the water because food may absorb more toxins from the water during cooking.

 eat the liver, kidneys or other organs of fish caught in the water. Be cautious about eating fish caught in the water where the blue-green bloom occurs.

 rely on water jug filtration systems, as they do not protect against the toxins.

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