The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is informing residents and visitors to the Township of Tiny that laboratory analysis has confirmed the presence of a blue-green algae bloom impacting the Southeast and Southwest shoreline of Farlain Lake, Township of Tiny.
Many species of blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria) have the potential to produce toxins that are harmful to the health of humans and animals when exposed in large amounts.
If you are drawing your water from the Southeast and Southwest end of Farlain Lake, Township of Tiny, boiling the water will not destroy toxins produced from cyanobacteria and home treatment devices may not be effective for their removal. Until further notice, do not use the water for drinking or for food preparation including breastmilk substitute (infant formula). Safe water sources include municipal water, bottled water or a well that is not affected by lake water.
SMDHU urges residents and businesses to not draw from or drink water from private water supplies that are impacted by the lake where blue-green algae has been identified, and to take the following precautions:
- Do not use a private water supply that is impacted or draws water from this area of the lake for the preparation of infant formula.
- Do not allow pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water where an algae bloom is visible.
- Fish taken from waters with cyanobacterial blooms have the potential to contain toxins and thus it is recommended that they not be consumed.
- Do not use herbicides, copper sulphate or other algaecides that may break open algae cells and release toxins into the water.
- Avoid water sport activities where an algae bloom is visible.
I strongly recommend seeking medical attention if symptoms such as skin, eye or throat irritation, allergic reactions or breathing difficulties occur following contact with the blue-green algae bloom. Anyone who comes into contact with blue-green algae should wash with soap and water or rinse thoroughly with clean water. Swimming, bathing or showering with water not visibly affected by a blue-green algae bloom is not expected to cause health effects.
The health unit and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks will continue to work together to monitor the algal bloom and updates will be provided on our website www.smdhu.org/algae.
For further information, call Health Connection Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 1-877-721-7520. Links to general information and updates about blue-green algae are available on the health unit website at www.simcoemuskokahealth.org.
Charles Gardner, MD, CCFP, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health