Algae Bloom In ‘Dam Created Lake’ Forces Public Health Advisory- UPDATED

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Updates in comments section below. Warning signs are being posted at Belwood Lake advising people to take precautions because of the presence of blue-green algae. The algae contain a toxin called microcystin which can cause illness when ingested by people or animals.

The signs are being posted by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health at several locations around the reservoir.

Belwood Lake Conservation Area GRCA Map

The Grand River Conservation Authority and public health are advising lake users:

  • Don’t swim in the lake
  • Keep children and pets away from the algae
  • Avoid contact with the algae
  • Don’t eat fish from the lake
  • Don’t use the water for drinking or any other purpose
  • Boating is allowed, but boaters should avoid touching the algae.

There have been no reports of human illness caused by the algae.

Belwood Lake is a 12 kilometre-long reservoir on the Grand River north of Fergus. At the south end of the lake is the Belwood Lake Park, a day-use area popular with boaters and picnickers. There is no designated swimming area in the park along the reservoir shore. The park has a separate swimming area in an old quarry which is not affected by the algae and remains open.

Around the rest of the reservoir are about 335 cottages on land owned by the GRCA, as well as several private campgrounds and day camps. Swimming is a common activity at these areas.

Signs are being posted at the park gatehouse and boat ramp Notices are also being sent to cottagers and camp operators.

The algae bloom was noticed this week when mats of decaying algae started appearing on the shoreline. Samples were taken on Thursday for analysis which showed that the algae contained the toxin microcystin. When the algae die, the toxin is released in the water where it naturally breaks down in about five to seven days.

Algae blooms are a natural phenomenon. They tend to occur during hot, dry weather. Algae feed on phosphorous, a chemical found naturally in soil as well as in manure, fertilizers and human waste. For the Silo, Cameron Linwood.

The Silo Reporting Via Twitter On Algal Blooms

More information on blue-green algae is available:

on the Ontario Ministry of Environment website at https://www.ontarioca/page/blue-green-algae

Toby Barrett

2 Comments to Algae Bloom In ‘Dam Created Lake’ Forces Public Health Advisory- UPDATED

  1. BULLETIN——Precaution urged again at Conestogo “Lake” due to presence of blue-green algae

    Just 11 days after preliminary signs were removed, warning signs are again being posted at Conestogo Lake reservoir advising people to take precautions because of the presence of blue-green algae. The algae contains a toxin called microcystin which can cause illness when ingested by people or animals.

    The signs are being posted at the Conestogo Lake park gatehouse and beach. Cottagers surrounding the lake are also being notified of the advisory.

    The Grand River Conservation Authority and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph public health are advising reservoir users:

    o Don’t swim in the reservoir

    o Keep children and pets away from the algae

    o Avoid contact with the algae

    o Don’t eat fish from the lake

    o Don’t use the water for drinking or any other purpose

    o Boating is allowed, but boaters should avoid touching the algae.

    There have been no reports of human illness caused by the algae.

    Conestogo Lake is a 735 ha reservoir on the Conestogo River. It was completed in 1958 for flood protection and to provide water to maintain flows downstream during dry weather.

    The reservoir is very active with numerous water sports and activities. There is a beach located within Conestogo Lake Park and many cottages surround the reservoir.

    The algae bloom was first noticed when mats of decaying algae started appearing on the shoreline. Samples were taken on Monday for analysis which showed that the algae contained the toxin microcystin. When the algae die, the toxin is released in the water where it naturally breaks down in about five to seven days.

    Algae blooms are a natural phenomenon. They tend to occur during hot, dry weather. Algae feed on phosphorous, a chemical found naturally in soil as well as in manure, fertilizers and human waste.

    An algae bloom at Belwood Lake reservoir near Fergus in August led to restrictions on water activities there. Those restrictions have since been lifted.

    More information on blue-green algae is available:

    o in the Newsroom section of the GRCA website at http://www.grandriver.ca

    o on the Health Canada website at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/pdf/pubs/water-eau/guide_water-2012-guide_eau/guide_water-2012-guide_eau-eng.pdf

    on the Ontario Ministry of Environment website at https://www.ontarioca/page/blue-green-algae

    Further information:

    Cam Linwood, Spokesperson, Grand River Conservation Authority
    Please mention The Silo when contacting.
    Phone 519-621-2763 x2251 | Email clinwood@grandriver.ca | Web http://www.grandriver.ca

  2. UPDATE Algae warning signs removed at Belwood Lake Park

    Warning signs advising people to be cautious around the water due to health risks associated with blue-green algae are being removed from Belwood Lake Park.

    A sample collected from the boat launch area within the park on August 17th showed non-detectable levels of microcystin.

    Lake users should continue to avoid algae mats on the shoreline, algae “scum” floating on the surface or any other visible algae. The blue-green algae are the source of microcystin.

    The warnings went into effect on Aug. 12 after water samples from the reservoir showed levels of microcystin higher than those recommended for recreational use. The signs were posted by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

    Microcystin is a toxin that is released by blue-green algae as they die. It can cause skin rashes after contact or illness after being ingested by people or animals.

    Algae blooms are a natural phenomenon. They tend to occur during hot dry weather, often increasing in frequency during late summer and early fall. Algae feed on phosphorous, a chemical found naturally in soil as well as in manure, fertilizers and human waste.

    GRCA staff will continue to monitor the reservoir and provide updates as necessary.

    More information on blue-green algae is available:

    o in the Newsroom section of the GRCA website at http://www.grandriver.ca

    o on the Health Canada website at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/alt_formats/pdf/pubs/water-eau/guide_water-2012-guide_eau/guide_water-2012-guide_eau-eng.pdf

    on the Ontario Ministry of Environment website at https://www.ontarioca/page/blue-green-algae

    Further information:

    Cam Linwood, Spokesperson, Grand River Conservation Authority Please mention thesilo.ca when contacting.

    Phone 519-621-2763 x2251 | Email clinwood@grandriver.ca | Web http://www.grandriver.ca

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