Swimmers told to stay out of the water at Ninette Beach due to high levels of toxic seaweed

The province is warning Manitobans to avoid the water at Ninette Beach, north of Pelican Lake, after high levels of toxic algae were discovered last week.

Levels of microcystin – an algal toxin that can be harmful to the liver or nervous system if large amounts of water are swallowed – on the beach in southwestern Manitoba were “well above the water quality objective. ‘recreational water’, according to the latest weekly report on the state of Manitoba’s beaches. , released on Friday.

The province issued a second level algae advisory for Ninette Beach on Tuesday.

These advisories are issued when microcystin levels exceed a certain point and include a warning that people and pets should not swim, drink or have any other contact with the water.

Second-level algae panels like this are posted when toxic algae concentrations exceed a certain point. (Province of Manitoba)

The province also issued first-level algae advisories for Patricia’s Beach on Lake Winnipeg and Plum Coulee Beach near Winkler after blue-green algae cell counts for both were found to be « Exceeds Manitoba’s Recreational Water Quality Objective ».

Level 1 advisories warn against swimming or other contact with water when blooms are present. If an algae bloom has been observed on a beach, a first-level warning sign remains posted for the remainder of the beach season, the province says.

A sample of algal blooms revealed that the amount of blue-green algae on Plum Coulee and Patricia beaches was above Manitoba’s Recreational Water Quality Objective, but microcystin toxin levels were below that goal, according to this week’s report on the state of the beaches.

Sampling is underway, the province says.

According to the province, E. coli levels are still above the recreational water quality objective at Plum Coulee Beach. Beach warning signs will remain posted for all affected areas.

A sign on a pole in front of a beach features large red letters reading "Algae reviews."
A file photo shows a first level algae advisory at Lake Winnipeg. The province has issued a first-level algae advisory at Patricia Beach, on the southeast shore of Lake Winnipeg. (Radio Canada)

The province is reminding people to avoid swimming in the water and to prevent pets from drinking the water where severe algae blooms may be observed. Home and cabin owners who use lake water for drinking are also being warned that most small treatment systems cannot remove algal toxins, according to the province.

More information can be found on the province’s website.

Warm, calm weather, along with relatively high loads of nutrients like phosphorus, provide ideal conditions for blue-green algae to thrive, he says.

Algae-causing phosphorus can come from a variety of sources, including household products, agricultural runoff, and contracted wastewater.


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