Shubenacadie Grand Lake Update, Investigation Continues
Samples taken from Shubenacadie Grand Lake on Friday, June 11, show evidence of blue-green algae consistent with levels found to be dangerous to dogs.
The department is waiting for laboratory results on pesticides or other contaminants. Residents are still advised not to drink, swim or bathe in, or otherwise use the water from Shubenacadie Grand Lake. Pets should not swim in the lake or drink the lake water, either. Additional updates will follow.
Once present, blue-green algae blooms will come and go in a body of water. Now that its presence is confirmed, people must not use it as their water supply. Homeowners should not draw their water from lakes or rivers in general, as typical home treatment systems only provide protection against bacteria in the water. They do not typically treat algae toxins, petroleum products, pesticides or other chemical contaminants.
The department began its investigation after a complaint about the death of two dogs last week. Initial rapid water tests on Thursday, June 10, were inconclusive. Targeted sampling done Friday, June 11, with the assistance of a drone confirmed the presence of blue-green algae.
Blue-green algae can appear at any time, particularly in warm water or water with a lot of nutrients. Blooms are appearing more frequently in Nova Scotia because of climate change. Blue-green algae has a musty smell and can release toxins that make people and animals sick. Anyone who sees a blue-green algae bloom should contact one of the department’s regional offices.
At this time, department staff do not believe that properly constructed and regularly tested wells are affected. Any homeowner who has questions about their well-water quality or well construction should have their well water tested or contact a certified well contractor to inspect their well.
Information on where people can get water is available at https://www.halifax.ca/home/news/halifax-regional-fire-emergency-providing-bottled-water-residents-grand-lake-area and https://www.easthants.ca/
Information on wells: https://novascotia.ca/nse/water/privatewells.asp and https://novascotia.ca/nse/water/wellcontractors.asp
Information on blue-green algae: https://novascotia.ca/nse/environmental-health/blue-green-algae.asp