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Water Today Title December 4, 2020

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Blue-green algae



This story is brought to you in part by Biomass Recycle

On July 3 the Township of Scugog, in the Regional Municipality of Durham in Ontario, released news that the Durham Region Health Department had "been advised by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) of the small amount of-of blue-green algae in water samples taken from the Kinsmen Beach area of Lake Scugog."

Glendene Collins, from the regional heal unit, said that the "notice was issued to keep the public informed of the potential for blue-green algae blooms that may occur in the area and may affect the public's health."

The amount of blue-green algae that was detected in the samples was low and "is not indicative of a bloom that can create conditions that are potentially harmful to the public," Collins explained. She added that "the Health Department will continue to monitor the area as water conditions change frequently which can affect the presence and growth of blue-green algae."

WaterToday asked if the presence would restrict the public use of the beach. Collins responded that "at this time, there are no restrictions on the use of the beach." She added that "the public is advised not to enter the water if conditions are indicative of a bloom, [...] and they should report these conditions to the Health Department when observed."

People should not enter the water if there is a visible foam or scum on the surface, as well as discoloured water olive-green, brown or red in colour.

Blue-green is not new to Kinsmen Beach, Collins informed WaterToday that "in 2017, visible blooms were observed in the area." Signs were posted around the beach to notify beachgoers of the danger and what measures could be taken.

Signs remain in the area due to the 2017 bloom and "evidence of blue-green algae was observed in the spring of this year," Collins said.

Many factors contribute to the blooms, Collins underlined that they "include high nutrient levels in the water, for example, phosphorus, warm water temperatures, stagnant water, or waters with little current."

The conditions at Kinsmen Beach do not constitute an algal bloom, yet, the public has been alerted to its presence to take the necessary precautions if the situation should arise.


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