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Photo taken by Gigi Larose of a Blue-Green algae bloom on Muskrat Lake

One of the more serious side effects on Muskrat Lake and its surrounding tributaries is the build up and proliferation of blue-green algae blooms. Some types of blue-green algae can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals. Some of these toxins include neurotoxins (those which affect the nervous and respiratory system) and hepatotoxins (those which affect the liver). Certain factors must occur for a blue-green algae bloom to form. Some of these factors include high surface water temperatures, large amounts of sunlight and high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen. Blue-green algae blooms mostly occur in the warmer months of summer to early fall. They are difficult to see with the naked eye unless they clump together and form what is called an algae bloom.


Species of blue-green algae are identified by:

  • A pea soup-like appearance

  • A general blue-green colour in the water

  • Decomposing garbage or fresh mowed lawn odour

  • Solid-looking (cottage cheese appearance) clumps floating on the surface of the water


If there has been a recent blue-green algae bloom reported by the Renfrew County and District Health Unit, please respect the advisory.


Steps to take during an advisory​:

  • Do not bathe or drink in or from the body of water

  • Keep pets and young children away from the water

  • Do not boil water to consume if it is suspected of containing blue-green algae

  • Do not try to chemically disinfect the surface water

  • Do not use a surface water intake in the area of a bloom

  • Use an alternative water source if your water comes from a household water treatment system


If there is no blue-green algae advisory released and you see something that resembles a blue-green algae bloom, what you decide to do is at your own discretion.

If you wish to report it, take a photo and contact our local Ministry of Environment Office at


Monday-Friday 8:30am-5:00pm

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