Algae bloom advisory for Lake St. Clair issued by health unit

Author of the article:

Dave Battagello

A file photo of a blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom.
A file photo of a blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom. Photo by SUNMEDIA

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) has issued a blue-green algae bloom advisory for the south shores of Lake St. Clair.

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The advisory is based on recent lab results for microcystins in Lake St. Clair by the local municipal water treatment plants.

The advisory will remain in effect until future test results are at an acceptable level below 1.5 parts per billion (ppb).

Residents on the municipal drinking water system can continue to drink the water, unless they are notified otherwise. Routine water testing is done by the municipal water treatment plant.

But for owners of wells and cisterns that draw water directly from Lake St. Clair they are being advised not to drink the water unless they are routinely testing for microcystins using a licensed lab and results show levels less than 1.5 ppb.

This includes drinking water for pets, and livestock animals.

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Children under age 6 should only drink bottled or municipal water. For all infant feeding preparation only bottled or municipal drinking water should be used after boiling.

It is also being advised to avoid swimming if the water looks cloudy or like green paint or pea soup.

Commons toxins produced during a blue-green algae bloom called microcystins can irritate skin if in contact by swimming or bathing.

If swallowed, it can cause headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

For more information on blue-green algae blooms, please visit the health unit website online at

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