Blue-green algae found in Belwood Lake

GRCA warns algae could also form in Guelph Lake, Conestogo Lake

CENTRE WELLINGTON – The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) has identified blue-green algae in Belwood Lake.

Officials say park visitors, recreational users and cottagers should take the following precautions:

  • keep children and pets away from the algae;
  • avoid contact with the algae;
  • don’t eat fish from the lake;
  • don’t use the water for drinking or any other purpose;
  • boating is allowed, where permitted, but boaters and recreational users should avoid touching the algae; and
  • don’t swim in areas “where you see scum, or it is accumulating along the shoreline.”

In a Sept. 1 press release the GRCA stated “presence of blue-green algae” has been confirmed at its Woolwich reservoir, in addition to Belwood Lake.

“Signage has been posted at both of these locations notifying the public of the conditions,” states the release.

The Ministry of the Environment and local public health units have been notified.

Officials also warn current conditions could result in algae forming in Guelph Lake in Guelph/Eramosa and Conestogo Lake in Mapleton.

“Blue-green algae thrive on nutrients from fields and lawns that find their way into local waterways and reservoirs during heavy rainfall and spring melts and cause their populations to grow rapidly, forming blooms or scum on the surface of the water,” states the GRCA release.

“Some varieties of blue-green algae can produce toxins that are harmful to both people and pets.”

Officials say when blooms start to grow, “a noticeable green or brown scum will form on the surface of water bodies and the water look like green or bluish-green pea soup.

“Once blue-green algae are in full bloom, it may look like spilled ‘paint’ along the shoreline.

“A new blue-green algal bloom often smells like fresh cut grass, while an older bloom can smell like rotting garbage.”

For more information visit the GRCA website.