Residents of Canada’s Pelee Island have been warned to drink only bottled water and to stay away from the beaches as toxic Lake Erie algae has reached its shores.
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit issued an alert on Tuesday, warning residents that the blue-green algae bloom is affecting the water quality along the island’s shoreline. The microcystin that contaminated Toledo’s water system, rendering the water undrinkable from Aug. 2-4, is affecting private well water systems on Pelee Island, authorities said.
The officials also warned residents not to bathe in or cook with the contaminated water and not to eat fish from the lake. Authorities closed the beaches and advised against swimming.
Toxic algae blooms have developed on Lake Erie since the mid-1990s, and the contaminants overwhelmed Toledo’s water treatment plant on Aug. 2, driving the level of the toxin microcystin above the 1 part per billion level the World Health Organization says is safe.
A do-not-drink advisory was issued for more than 500,000 customers. For more than two days, residents scrambled to find bottled water. People had to avoid tap water to cook, bathe, dishes, or laundry.