Potential Blue-Green Algae Bloom in Desbarats Lake


Algoma Public Health is advising residents and visitors of a potential blue-green algae bloom in Desbarats Lake in Johnson Township.   Blue-green algae blooms have been confirmed in this lake in the past.

Blue-green algae are naturally found in freshwater lakes.   They are often present in low numbers and barley visible.  When conditions are right, they can increase in numbers to form a scum called a bloom.

“Not all blooms are harmful but some types of blue-green algae produce toxins that can make humans and animals sick when breathed-in, swallowed or touched,” says Blair Shaw, a public health inspector with Algoma Public Health. “Symptoms may include vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps or skin, eyes, nose and throat irritation.”

As a precautionary measure, Algoma Public Health recommends that residents:

Do not use the water for recreational activities such as swimming or water skiing when a bloom is visible.
Do not drink the water or use it for food preparation.
Use alternative safe water sources such as bottled or municipally treated water.  Residential water treatment devices cannot remove the toxins.  Boiling or adding bleach to the water increases the amount of toxins and does not make it safe to use.
Do not bathe or shower in the water.
Do not let pets or livestock use the water for drinking or wading.
Do not eat the liver, kidneys or other organs of fish caught in the water.

Learn more about what you can do to reduce conditions for the growth of blue-green algae.


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