Whitby, Ontario - Durham Region Health Department has received test results of water samples from Lake Scugog, north of the Scugog Point area, indicating the presence of blue-green algae in the area. Water samples were collected by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on April 18.
As summer approaches and weather conditions vary, there may be more occurrences of blue-green algae throughout Lake Scugog and other bodies of surface water in Durham Region. While there is currently no evidence of blue-green algae at Kinsmen Beach (Palmer Park, Port Perry), due to history of blue-green algae at Kinsmen Beach and the fact that blue-green algae has currently been observed in another part of the lake, the Health Department will be posting advisory signs at Kinsmen Beach as a precaution. If people observe algae mats that may be blue-green, olive-green, or red in colour, they are advised not to enter the water in the surrounding area as some can produce toxins which may be harmful to humans and pets. Residents are also reminded not to use the lake as a source of drinking water.
Blue-green algae are microscopic, plant-like organisms that occur naturally in ponds, rivers, lakes and streams. Although often blue green in colour, the algae may also be olive-green or red. People can protect themselves and their pets from blue-green algae blooms by not swimming or playing in areas where water is discoloured or where foam, scum, or mats of algae on the water’s surface are present. Children and pets should not play in, or drink water from areas where a beach advisory is posted. Consuming fish from areas where mats of algae are present or where a swimming advisory is posted is also not advised.
The Health Department monitors 14 public beaches throughout Durham Region beginning in early June until the end of August. Information notices about blue-green algae are posted at all public beaches during the beach monitoring season. If blue green-algae are confirmed at these beaches, advisory signs indicating the presence of blue-green algae will also be posted. The Health Department’s beach monitoring program does not cover all areas where lake water is accessible in the Region, or privately owned waterfront properties. However, blue-green algae may also be present in these waters and visitors are advised to be cautious of the possibility of blue-green algae in these areas.
For more information about blue-green algae, visit durham.ca/beaches or contact Durham Health Connection Line at 905-668-2020 or 1-800-841-2729.
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For more information, please contact the Health Department.