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Blue-green algae found near Lakeview Park

Blue-green algae have been detected at Lakeview Park in Oshawa, but there is some good news.

Water samples taken from the area of the park’s east beach tested positive for the algae, according to an advisory from the Durham Region Health Department.

However, officials say there is no sign of a bloom, which can cause harm to both humans and animals.

But just because the bloom has not developed yet, doesn’t mean it won’t.

“While current test results…of water samples from Lakeview Beach East found a level of blue-green algae that does not indicate a bloom, we want people to understand that water conditions could change at any time and the health department may not be immediately aware of these changes,” says Laura Freeland, manager of health protection. “In particular, these changes could occur with warmer water temperatures which can help to increase algal growth. That’s why it’s important for people to look at the water for potential signs of blue-green algae, which could include scum or mats of algae on the water’s surface.”

Blue-green algae are microscopic, plant-like organisms that occur in ponds, rivers, streams, and lakes.

Although called blue-green algae, they can also be olive-green or red.

The algae are not usually visible in the water but become more clear when the large mass or scum called blooms begin to develop.

Blooms typically occur around this time of year and thrive in areas where the water is shallow, slow-moving and warm, but may be present in deeper, cooler water.

Potential effects range from irritated eyes, headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

Exposure to larger quantities can result in more serious health effects such as liver damage.

For more information about blue-green algae, visit durham.ca/beaches, or call the Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.