Blue-Green Algae Identified at Surprise Lake

Stock image of blue-gree algae

August 17, 2023 -  The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has confirmed the presence of blue-green  algae in a water sample collected on August 13, 2023, at Surprise Lake (along the shoreline of the  cottage on Surprise Lake Road West, which is on the southwest side of the southern portion of the  lake). It is important to remember that water should be avoided whenever a blue-green algae bloom  is present, and for about 2 weeks after it has dissipated.  

When blue-green algae is present in water, it is important to avoid drinking the water, using it for  household purposes, or swimming in it. Keep pets away from the water as well, as their smaller size  and propensity for drinking lake water makes them more vulnerable.  

Blue-green algae are microscopic organisms that are naturally present in lakes and streams. They are usually present in low numbers but can rapidly increase in warm, shallow, surface water that  gets a lot of sun. When this happens, they can form blooms that make the water look like green pea  soup or turquoise paint. When the bloom is very large, the harmful algae bloom may form scum or  solid-looking clumps on the water surface. Some blue-green algae blooms produce toxins than  pose a health risk to people and animals when consumed, inhaled, or even from skin contact. If  contact with a blue-green algae bloom does occur, wash with soap and water and rinse with clean  water to remove the algae. 

Blue-green algae blooms in lakes in our region have been relatively uncommon, historically.  However, with rising climate and water temperatures they may become more common. 

If you spot a suspected blue-green algae bloom, report it to the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268- 6060.  

For more information on blue-green algae blooms, please visit the Ministry of the Environment,  Conservation and Parks website at: Questions about  water sampling should be directed to the MECP office in Thunder Bay at 807-475-1205. 

If you have questions about the health effects of blue-green algae blooms, please contact the  Thunder Bay District Health Unit at 807-625-5900 to speak with a public health inspector. 


For more information: Health Unit Media

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