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Blue Green Algae

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If blooms are visible:

  • Do not use the water for preparing breastmilk substitute (infant formula).
  • People should not use the water for drinking, food preparation, bathing or showering.
  • Do not allow children, pets and or livestock to swim in or drink the water.
  • Avoid eating fish caught from areas were an algae bloom is present. 
  • If you suspect a blue-green algal bloom, call the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060. 

How to reduce blue-green algae blooms:

  • Use phosphate-free detergents, personal care and household cleaning products.
  • Avoid using fertilizers on lawns, especially fertilizers that contain phosphorus.
  • Maintain a natural shoreline on lake and riverfront properties.
  • Reduce agricultural runoff by planting or maintaining vegetation along waterways and minimizing fertilizer use.
  • Check septic systems to ensure they do not leak into the water source.

Source: Government of Ontario, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, Blue-Green Algae Fact Sheet

How to identify blue-green algae:

Learn how to identify blue-green algae so you can protect yourself and your family.

 category1

Category 1

  • water appears cloudy
  • should not swim or allow children to play in water
  • no health effects at this stage
 category2

Category 2

Algae may be in balls or flakes in the water, like a pea puree

  • do not swim or allow children to play in water
  • do not use the water for drinking, cooking, rinsing foods, or washing dishes
  • do not let pets or livestock drink the water
 category3

Category 3

This is a dense bloom and may resemble a paint spill or scum on the water

  • do not swim or allow children to play in the water
  • do not use the water for drinking, cooking, rinsing foods, or washing dishes
  • do not let pets or livestock drink the water

Adapted with permission from Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit

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