Blue-green algae found in the Rideau Canal

Blue-green algae found in the Rideau Canal

Ottawa – The Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) has advised Ottawa Public Health (OPH) that water samples taken from the Rideau Canal were positive for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria).

The samples were collected on September 6, 2016 from water above the locks near the Ottawa River and contained a species of cyanobacteria that is known to produce toxins. Because blooms of blue-green algae are not anchored, they can move from one location to another through wind and water action. The MOECC has advised OPH that they are testing a few other locations along the canal from Mooney’s Bay to the Ottawa River.  Toxins produced by blue-green algae can be harmful to humans when ingested and through skin contact. 

The presence of toxins produced by the blue-green algae bloom can pose a health threat and OPH is recommending residents take the following precautions in and around the Rideau Canal waters: 

  • Do not eat fish caught in the Rideau Canal. Toxins can build up in fish and eating it may cause illness.  It is recommended that you avoid eating fish from these waters during the algal bloom and for two weeks after the bloom has dissipated. 
  • Do not allow pets to drink or swim in the water as they may become sick. 
  • Do not use the water for swimming, bathing or other recreational uses that result in skin contact or accidental swallowing of water.

The above precautions should be taken for a minimum of 24 hours after the algal bloom has dissipated. 

If you have any questions regarding this matter, please call the Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) and ask to speak with a Public Health Inspector. You can also connect with us through Facebook and Twitter.