On July 10, 2021, representatives from the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (OMECP) collected a water sample from the shores of Muskrat Lake after reports of a (blue-green algae bloom-like) substance floating on the water's surface. Their suspicions were later confirmed through sample analysis on July 12, 2020.
In their findings, they concluded that there was an abundance of blue-green algal cells in the samples. The cells are capable of producing toxins that pose great health concerns to the public.
As recommended on The Renfrew County District Health Unit webpage. Individuals on Muskrat Lake are encouraged to be on the lookout for algae blooms, and if there is algae bloom present to follow the guidelines listed below:
Avoid direct contact with the bloom.
Avoid using the water in the vicinity of blooms for drinking, bathing or showering and do not allow children, pets or livestock to drink or swim in the water.
Boiling the water for drinking purposes should be avoided because boiling may release more toxins into the water.
Toxins that may be released by blue-green algae are not removed by small-scale residential treatment systems such as filtration, chlorination or ultraviolet light disinfection. Surface water is never a safe source of drinking water without effective treatment.
Residents should not rely on water jug filtration systems as they do not protect against toxins.
Avoid cooking with water because foods may absorb the toxin during the cooking process.
Caution should be exercised with respect to eating fish caught in water where blue-green algae blooms have occurred. Avoid eating the liver, kidneys and other organs of fish caught in the water.
On lakes and rivers where blue-green algae blooms are confirmed, people who use the surface water for their private drinking water supply should consider an alternate, protected source of water.
The Muskrat Watershed Council will continue monitoring the situation and providing health unit updates as they become available.
Should you see a bloom, we highly encourage you to report it to OMECP at 1-800-268-6060 or on the Muskrat Watershed Council reporting tool at here.
For more information, please visit the Ministry of the Environment Parks and Conservation website at http://www.ontario.ca/environment-and-energy/blue-green-algae or the Renfrew County and District Health Unit website at https://www.rcdhu.com/healthy-living/safe-water/.