Blue Algae Bloom Reported on Wabigoon Lake

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Blue Green Algae on Lake Winnipeg
Blue Green Algae on Lake Winnipeg Photo courtesy Vicki Burns - Save Lake Winnipeg

DRYDEN – HEALTH – There has been a report of an algae bloom near Rowatt Road in the Bonny Bay area of Wabigoon Lake, near Dryden. The bloom is being tested by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to see if it is blue-green algae. At this time, the results are not known, and Northwestern Health Unit (NWHU) asks that people treat it as though it is blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They are usually present in low numbers but can rapidly increase in certain conditions to form a large mass or scum, called a bloom. Some blue-green algae produce toxins that can pose a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large amounts.

When blue-green algae blooms are present, it is important to avoid drinking the water, swimming in it, and using it for bathing or other household purposes. Residential water treatment systems may not remove toxins and should not be relied on during a bloom event. Do not boil the water, as this can cause an increase in toxin levels. Municipally treated water supplies can be used normally unless you are notified otherwise.

People and pets should avoid contact with water that has been recently impacted by a blue green algae bloom, is discoloured or has scum on the surface. If contact does occur, wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove algae.

It is recommended to wait at least two weeks after the bloom has disappeared before resuming the normal use of lake waters.

If you spot a bloom, report it to the Spills Action Centre at 1-866-MOETIPS (6638477)