Area water supply being monitored for toxic algal blooms

While 'unlikely to occur' agency is taking no chances


it’s apparently never happened before, but the general manager of the Lambton Area Water Supply System, which supplies Sarnia and some neighbouring communities, isn’t taking any chances when it comes to the possibility of a toxic blue-green algal bloom occurring in the area.

Susan MacFarlane, in a LAWSS media release issued Wednesday (July 20, 2016), said the organization earlier this year introduced procedures to deal with a blue-green algal bloom, the type of naturally occurring phenomenon that can occur with environmental factors such as nutrient levels and weather conditions.

Earlier this year, LAWSS introduced procedures that include visual monitoring of the surface waters of Lake Huron in the vicinity of the intake.

Operators are instructed to look for signs of a bloom forming as well as monitor on a daily basis a website maintained by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, which tracks movement of algal blooms in the Great Lakes.

MacFarlane told Lambton Shield that conditions in Lake Huron are different than those in Lake Erie that occurred in the summer of 2014. At that time, residents of Toledo were warned not to drink tap water because of a blue-green algal bloom.

As unlikely as such an event is for this area, MacFarlane said LAWSS and its staff are committed to taking a proactive approach.

In addition to the visual monitoring, LAWSS has in place procedures for testing and adjustments in water treatment should any blue-green algae occur.

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