Blue Green Algae on the Bay of Quinte Belleville

So the bay is having another bloom of Blue Green algae and the medical officer of health with the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Health Unit is telling people and pets to stay out the water especially around Zwicks park and the George Street ramp, in order to stay on the safe side.

The town water is safe to drink but people who pull water from the bay are being told not to shower until otherwise notified. It’s believed this bloom will last a few weeks.

Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacterial, can produce toxins that may be harmful to humans and animals. Ingestion of the water or fish that contain high levels of the toxin may cause you to experience headaches, fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Swimming in contaminated water may cause itchy and irritated eyes and skin. Although, the presence of a cyanobacterial bloom doesn’t always mean the water is toxic. Between 30 and 50 per cent of cyanobacterial blooms are harmless.


Children are at higher risk if exposed to toxic levels of cyanobacterial and pets should stay out of the water because contamination could make them very sick or cause death.

Beware of these areas until otherwise notified and make sure not to consume any fish caught in this area until there is no more risk of contamination. While it is known that fish do store toxins in their liver, more research is needed to learn if the toxins accumulate in the flesh. Therefore, fish caught from algae-affected water should be eaten in moderation(except the guts liver, kidney, etc.) or avoided all together.

Raw water samples taken Friday and Saturday showed relatively low levels of microcystine toxin produced by the blue-green algae, Schabas said.

Friday’s samples showed a toxin level below the maximum level for drinking water; Saturday’s samples showed a level slightly above the acceptable amount of 1.5 micrograms per litre. That limit is “very conservative,” said Eric Serwotka, the unit’s director of environmental health.

He said all raw water samples were below three micrograms per litre.

“There’s no real health threat because that’s the untreated water,” Serwotka said. “We have to monitor and make sure it doesn’t get to a point that’s more significant.”

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