Huron Perth Public Health and Southwestern Public Health are warning the public about a potentially dangerous bloom of blue-green algae in Wildwood Reservoir at Wildwood Conservation Area, near St. Marys, Ont.
The health units say the algae can produce toxins that could be dangerous for people to come into contact with or consume, especially children and pets.
Until further notice, the health units say no one should swim or take part in other activities that involve direct contact with the water, pets should not swim in or drink the water, any accidentally exposed areas should be washed with clean water and soap, and no one should eat any fish caught in the reservoir.
“While the blue-green algae may not show the presence of toxins, there is always a risk that toxins could be produced,” the health units say.
“Toxins may stay in the water for up to three weeks after the algae bloom is gone.”
Symptoms of exposure to the toxins can include itchy, irritated eyes and skin from contact with skin or flu-like symptoms like headache, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting if large quantities are swallowed, the health units say.
The health units note that drinking water supplies from wells in the area are not impacted and blooms are not a concern for groundwater drinking supplies.
HPPH and SWPH are working with the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to monitor the water. More information on blue-green algae can be found on the provincial government’s website.