Health Unit Advises Residents In The Dee Bank Area To Avoid Lake Water Due To Blue-Green Algae

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Blue-green algae in Sullivans Creek, Canberra. Photo by Gregory Heath, CSIRO

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is advising residents around the Dee Bank area of Three Mile Lake to avoid using the lake water for drinking or food preparation following the confirmation of blue-green algae bloom.

The health unit was advised by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) that laboratory tests confirmed the presence of a blue-green algae bloom in the Dee Bank area (West end) of Three Mile Lake. Exposure to blue-green algae, whether through drinking, swimming, cooking or eating fish caught from the area, could result in illness. Illness is mainly caused by drinking water that is contaminated with blue-green algae toxins and symptoms can include headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The effects can be more serious if water is swallowed in large quantities. Boiling the water will not destroy the toxins and home treatment systems should not be relied on, according to the SMDHU.

Wind and water currents can change the location of algae blooms, which may make the water look bluish-green, like green pea soup or like turquoise paint. Swimming and other water sport activities should be avoided in areas where a blue-green algae bloom is visible.

The SMDHU and the MECP will continue to monitor the lake and updates will be posted on the health unit’s website.

To learn more about blue-green algae, visit the SMDHU website, or call Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.

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