Blue-green algae confirmed in Ontario waters of Lake Superior

Health officials have confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in an area of Lake Superior east of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

According to a news release from the Thunder Bay District Health Unit, the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks confirmed the presence of blue-green algae in a water sample collected from Black Bay on July 9. The MECP did not analyze the sample to see if it contained toxins because the sample was not collected by MECP.

The Health Unit said blue-green algae can turn toxin production on and off in response to environmental conditions, so people should avoid water whenever a blue-green algae bloom is present and for about two weeks after it has dissipated.

Officials say blue-green algae, a microscopic organism, is naturally present in low numbers but can rapidly increase in warm, shallow surface waters that get a lot of sun. The blooms make the water look like green pea soup or turquoise paint, and clumps can form on ths surface when the bloom is very large.

People should not swim in water with blue-green algae and keep their pets away from it.

People who spot suspected blue-green algae blooms in Ontario waters should call the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.

More information on blue-green algae: