MECP reveals location of blue-green algae bloom in Peterborough County

Blue-green algae collecting on the shoreline Photo by Cheng Wei/Shutterstock

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks has confirmed that blue-green algae was found on Clear Lake in Douro-Dummer and it has since dissipated. The Ministry revealed the location of the blue-green algae case a week after FOCA executive director Terry Rees criticized the lack of transparency from the MECP and public health unit about where the blue-green algae had been found.

According to the MECP, the bloom was detected on June 29. During a follow-up inspection on July 7, the ministry determined the algae bloom had already dissipated, and they collected a second lakewater sample for further confirmation. The sample was submitted for analysis and the result is currently pending.

Elana Arthurs, chief administrative officer for Douro-Dummer, says the MECP told the township the bloom was present on June 28, five days after announcing it was taking the first samples. After testing, the MECP didn’t tell them specific information about the toxicity of the blooms. 

Arthurs says the Township of Douro-Dummer made the ministry’s information about the threats of blue-green algae available on its website, and it will stay up even now that it’s dissipated.

“We weren’t concerned with the bloom that was there because the MECP wasn’t reporting that there was an issue (with toxicity),” she says. 

In an emailed statement, however, the ministry said the first samples were “below the Ontario drinking water quality standard and Health Canada’s recreational water quality guidelines.”

Jacob Rodenburg, executive director of Camp Kawartha—which is stationed on the north end of Clear Lake—says the ministry notified the camp of the lake’s blue-green algae blooms in early July. The camp ran its own tests with Lakefield Research and didn’t let anyone in the water for six days. Lakefield Research reported the bloom was “not a public health concern” and “below the threshold” of what would cause harm to campers. He hasn’t heard of any campers or staff who had issues with the water.

“I feel that both the MECP and Peterborough Public Health have been good to work with. They’ve always been forthcoming,” he says.

Jordan Kussman, manager of Young’s Point Marina, hasn’t noticed any blue-green algae on Clear Lake. He says people have continued boating and participating in waterfront activities at the usual rate: “No one is scared of blue-green algae or worried about it.”

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Terry Rees is the president of FOCA. He is in fact the executive director.

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