BAYSVILLE — Why are our waters so bad this year?
Residents are wondering that after yet another environmental report of a blue-green algae bloom in Muskoka, just outside Baysville in Lake of Bays Township.
It’s been a widespready ongoing problem this summer and this is at least the third incident, this one reported just before Thanksgiving weekend.
The last one was in Brandy Lake in Muskoka Lakes Township.
Local speculation is that it may be a result of spring flooding and possibly a spinoff from waterfront users’ septic systems being overwhelmed and contributing.
This time the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) has forwarded a report by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP), that laboratory tests have confirmed the presence of a bloom in the east end of Echo Lake.
They say wind and water currents can change the location of algae blooms in the lake.
The blooms may make the water look bluish-green, or like green pea soup or turquoise paint.
Health officials say swimming and other water sport activities should also be avoided in areas where a blue-green algae bloom is visible.
SMDHU is advising residents around the east end of Echo Lake, Township of Lake of Bays, to avoid using the lake water for drinking or food preparation, including breastmilk substitute (infant formula).
They say boiling the water will not destroy the toxins, and home treatment systems should not be relied on.
And exposure to blue-green algae, whether for drinking, swimming, cooking or through eating fish caught from the south-end of Geri Bay, may result in illness.
As well, adverse health effects are mainly caused by drinking water that is contaminated with blue-green algae toxins.
The symptoms from consuming toxins can include headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and can be more serious if water is swallowed in large quantities.
The SMDHU and MECP say they will continue to monitor the lake and updates will be posted on the health unit’s website at www.smdhu.org/algae.
To learn more about blue-green algae visit the health unit website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org, or call Health Connection weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520.