Update on the Algae Bloom
Update on the results of the September 16th water samples. Today, (Sept. 24, 2020) the South Muskoka District Health Unit advised us that the results of the water samples indicated that the algae blooms in the western part of our lake, as well as at the entry to Hamell’s Bay, have dissipated and the health warning has been lifted. However, the health warning still applies to the eastern end of the main basin. Please remain cautious when using the lake water.
Update On Our Three Mile Lake Water Sample Results
September 15, 2020
On August 10, 2020 the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) took water samples on the eastern end of the main basin of Three Mile to determine the presence of a blue-green algae bloom. This presence was confirmed by the South Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) on August 13,2020 and a warning was sent by Email to all of our members, along with posting this notice on both our website and Facebook page. On August 18, 2020 the MECP took additional water samples at the west end of our main basin and at the entry into Hamell’s Bay. Once again these water samples confirmed the presence of an algae bloom, and we notified our members and the general public on August 27, 2020 of these additional findings. Both sets of samples were sent to the MECP laboratory on August 27, 2020 to conduct toxicity tests.
On September 14, 2020 I was advised by the MECP that these toxicity tests came back negative “results below detection level” which means that there were less than .2 micrograms per litre. As a reference, the safe drinking level is less than 1.5 micrograms/litre, while recreational use has a level of 20 micrograms/litre. That was the good news! These results were forwarded to the SMDHU for their review.
Today the SMDHU advised me that they were going to request new water samples.These samples will be taken on September 16, 2020, at all of the original sites. The reason for the need for new samples is that when blue-green algae “dies off”, it releases toxins, which is a natural process. The SMDHU is concerned about this and has required new water samples to be taken, to be on the safe side. We are also concerned, as the health of our members, their families and their pets is OUR primary concern.
We will wait for the preliminary results to see if there is still a presence of blue-green algae, which I think is likely due to the greenness of the water. The results of these tests should be available within 4-5 days. We will of course communicate these results to you. If the samples require additional toxicity testing, as we have seen, this could take up to another month. In the interim, the health warnings remain in force and we certainly recommend that everyone use their common sense when swimming or if drinking the lake water or using it for household chores. Please be safe!
I realize that everyone has been frustrated with this whole process. Certainty we as your Board Of Directors have been! We are in discussions with both the SMDHU and MECP to try and find ways to streamline these processes and speed up the timelines. We will provide updates as soon as we receive them.
President-Three Mile Lake Association
Blue-Green Algae Bloom Update
Water samples were taken on August 18th on two sites in the west end of Three Mile Lake, one in Dee Bank Village and the other at the parkette on North Shore Rd, as well as at the end of Three Mile Lake Rd 1 at the mouth of Hamell’s Bay. All 3 samples indicated the presence of blue green algae. These samples will undergo further toxicity tests, which could take up to three weeks for results. Please see the following letter from the South Muskoka District Health Unit dated August 27, 2020 which includes precautions that everyone should take.
We are still awaiting toxicity results from the original samples taken in the eastern end of the main basin on August 10th. Hopefully they will be available in the next week or so. We will notify you of all results as soon as they are available.
Blue-Green Algae Bloom
Please refer to the attached public notice by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) for more information. SMDHU Public Notice
Potential Blue-Green Algae Bloom
A) Some blue-green algae produce toxins and can cause a health risk to people and animals when they are exposed to them in large amounts. Your health may be impacted when surface scum or water containing high levels of blue-green algal toxins are swallowed, come into contact with the skin, or when airborne drops containing toxins are inhaled while swimming, bathing or showering.
B) CONSUMING WATER. Ingestion of high levels of blue-green algal toxins have been associated with effects on the liver and nervous system in laboratory animals, pets, livestock and people. Livestock and pet deaths have occurred when animals consumed large amounts of algal scum.
C) DIRECT CONTACT, OR BREATHING AIRBORNE DROPLETS. Coming in contact with high levels of blue-green algal toxins while swimming or showering can irritate the skin, eyes and throat and inflame the respiratory tract.
D) RECREATIONAL CONTACT. Swimming and household contact, such as bathing or showering, with water not visibly affected by a blue-green algae bloom, is not expected to cause health effects. However, some individuals can be especially sensitive to even low levels of algal toxins and might experience mild symptoms such as skin, eye or throat irritation or allergic reactions.
E) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. Can be found at http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/SafeWater/bluegreenalgae_copy1.aspx
Water Quality Update
Note that since 2011, the MECP (Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks) lab results have regularly exceeded the safe drinking level 1.5 µg/L, but they have NOT exceeded the Ontario safe recreational water level 20 µg/L. Swimming and other water sport activities should be avoided in areas where the blue-green algae bloom is visible. Past history shows that sample results from separate locations can be very different.
Watersheds Canada – Lake Protection Workbook for Shoreline Property Owners
Check out the “Lake Protection Workbook: A Self-Assessment Tool for Shoreline Property Owners”. Diagnose any shoreline property problems, and see how you can help your shoreline. You can download an online copy for free, or contact us for a physical copy for $1.50. Printing funded by Watersheds Canada and the Daniel and Susan Gottlieb Foundation.