Residents are asked to avoid the Ghost Lake area while water testing takes place.

The Northwestern Health Unit and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks are working to test Dryden’s Ghost Lake for toxic blue-green algae. Residents are asked to avoid the public beach area for a minimum of two weeks while testing occurs.

Blue-green algae is created through phosphorus in the lakes, and blue-green algae typically blooms in the summer and fall in shallow, slow-moving and warm water.

After swimming in lakes with toxic-blue green algae, humans and pets may experience stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea and skin rashes, and nerve and liver damage has been reported following long-term exposure.

As it stands, residents are asked to not drink the water or use it for household use, and avoid swimming in the water. If contact does occur, wash the area with soap and water or rinse with clean water to remove the algae.

Municipal water treatment systems are able to remove blue-green algae, but residential systems may not remove the same toxins. As well, boiling the water will not remove toxins, it will actually increase the amount of them.

Residents are asked to avoid the lakes for a minimum of two weeks after the algae bloom has disappeared before using water or drinking from the lake.

If you spot a blue-green algae bloom, you are asked to report it to the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.