Warning signs are being posted around Woolwich Reservoir near Elmira advising people to take precautions because of the presence of blue-green algae in the water.
The algae contain a toxin called microcystin which can cause a rash after contact, or illness when ingested by people or animals. This is the second reservoir in the Grand River Conservation Authority jurisdiction to be hit with the problem this summer.
Last month, warning signs were placed at Lake Belwood. Fortunately, after several weeks, the microcystin dissipates, and Lake Belwood is no longer under those warnings.
Woolwich Reservoir is on the Canagagigue Creek. Typically, there is little activity on the reservoir. There is no beach. However, there is a public trail around the reservoir that is a popular walking spot for area residents.
The Grand River Conservation Authority is advising those visiting the Woolwich Reservoir area:
– don’t swim in the water;
– keep children and pets away from the algae;
– avoid contact with algae;
– don’t eat fish from the reservoir;
– don’t use the water for drinking or any other purpose; and
– don’t canoe, kayak or sail in the water.
The algae were observed by GRCA staff on Aug. 26. Field tests done of the water the next day showed the presence of microcystin.
Algae blooms are a natural phenomenon. They tend to occur during hot dry weather.
More information on blue-green algae is available in the Newsroom section of the GRCA website at www.grandriver.ca.