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RAMSAY LAKE, ON: BLUE GREEN ALGAE OUTBREAK ON LAKE WILL NOT AFFECT MUNICIPAL WATER, ON
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What is suspected to be a blue green algae bloom was spotted on Ramsay Lake by a local lifeguard on Monday. According to a chart found on Sudbury District Health Unit's (SDHU) website, the lake, located just outside of Sudbury has seen similar blooms every year since 2010.
"We went over to Bell park and walked through the park and checked all the beaches and we could see what looked like algae growing," said Rylan Yade, an Environmental Support Officer with SDHU, "We took a sample and brought it to the Ministry of Environment lab to be tested to see if it is blue green algae," adding, "We haven't received the results yet but as soon as we do we'll have another media release to notify the public and media as to what the sample came back as."
In the meantime, signs have been put up on the lake advising the public to avoid swimming, drinking the water and letting their pets into it.
Ramsay Lake is one of three lakes that have seen blooms in the Sudbury region this year.
Consuming water with high levels of blue green algae present can result in significant damage to the liver and nervous system of people and their pets.
At this time, the bloom has not been spotted near the David Street Water Treatment Plant intake but officials have said that it will not affect municipal drinking water.
"They have an effective barrier for the algae," Yade said, "After passing through that barrier there's a process using super chlorination that denatures the toxins. That chlorine is then brought back to acceptable levels to put into public drinking water system."
Yade went on to mention that it is difficult to know exactly what is causing the blue green algae. It can show up when there is a change in nutrients or when the water shifts from season to season. It could also have something to do with phosphorous or nitrogen levels rising or the water being more shallow than usual.
When asked about potential treatment methods on the lake, Yade said that they don't recommend doing anything to remove the bloom.
"When blue green algae dies, that's when it releases its toxins," he said, "It's best to wait to for it to leave an area. It's not anchored to the bottom, so can be here and gone in a few hours. It's important to just be on the lookout and watch. We train lifeguards at the beginning of the year to identify the algae and when they see it move in, they tell people to not use the area."
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