Green scum upsets banner year at Pier 4 Park beach

News Oct 02, 2009 Ancaster News

A balmy September may have helped make up for an otherwise cool summer, but it also brought the return of blue-green algae at beaches at Pier 4 and Bayfront parks.

The telltale green surface scum is once again prevalent in the western end of the harbour, prompting a warning from the city’s health department to stay out of the water and not eat fish caught there.

Eric Mathews, head of the health protection division, said the algae is in fact a bacteria that produces a toxin that can irritate skin and make people, especially children, ill if they ingest it.

The same applies to pets, he said, acknowledging the risk for humans is reduced because wading into the water is less popular now than during summer months. The algae last appeared in July of last year.

“It’s gotten warmer lately and the weather has been calmer lately, and I think those are a couple of factors,” Mr. Mathews said. “I don’t think the risk is large, but people need to be made aware so they can take precautions. We wouldn’t want anyone going into the water unknowingly,” he said.

“The toxin can accumulate in the fish. It’s not a big risk either, but it’s a possibility and we’d rather be safe than sorry on that.”

Mr. Mathews said he expects the algae to be gone in a couple of weeks and it is the lone blot on what was a banner summer for the Pier 4 Park beach.

The continuing success of a pilot project that used barriers to deter birds and the E. coli contamination their droppings bring saw the beach open nearly 90 per cent of the time, he said. That rivals conditions by Beach Boulevard and Confederation Park.

“Ever since those barriers went in place, the water quality has climbed steadily year after year, and we’re hoping that in the future, soon, that similar measures can be put in place at Bayfront beach,” Mr. Mathew said. “I’m overjoyed with the results.”

Green scum upsets banner year at Pier 4 Park beach

News Oct 02, 2009 Ancaster News

A balmy September may have helped make up for an otherwise cool summer, but it also brought the return of blue-green algae at beaches at Pier 4 and Bayfront parks.

The telltale green surface scum is once again prevalent in the western end of the harbour, prompting a warning from the city’s health department to stay out of the water and not eat fish caught there.

Eric Mathews, head of the health protection division, said the algae is in fact a bacteria that produces a toxin that can irritate skin and make people, especially children, ill if they ingest it.

The same applies to pets, he said, acknowledging the risk for humans is reduced because wading into the water is less popular now than during summer months. The algae last appeared in July of last year.

“It’s gotten warmer lately and the weather has been calmer lately, and I think those are a couple of factors,” Mr. Mathews said. “I don’t think the risk is large, but people need to be made aware so they can take precautions. We wouldn’t want anyone going into the water unknowingly,” he said.

“The toxin can accumulate in the fish. It’s not a big risk either, but it’s a possibility and we’d rather be safe than sorry on that.”

Mr. Mathews said he expects the algae to be gone in a couple of weeks and it is the lone blot on what was a banner summer for the Pier 4 Park beach.

The continuing success of a pilot project that used barriers to deter birds and the E. coli contamination their droppings bring saw the beach open nearly 90 per cent of the time, he said. That rivals conditions by Beach Boulevard and Confederation Park.

“Ever since those barriers went in place, the water quality has climbed steadily year after year, and we’re hoping that in the future, soon, that similar measures can be put in place at Bayfront beach,” Mr. Mathew said. “I’m overjoyed with the results.”

Green scum upsets banner year at Pier 4 Park beach

News Oct 02, 2009 Ancaster News

A balmy September may have helped make up for an otherwise cool summer, but it also brought the return of blue-green algae at beaches at Pier 4 and Bayfront parks.

The telltale green surface scum is once again prevalent in the western end of the harbour, prompting a warning from the city’s health department to stay out of the water and not eat fish caught there.

Eric Mathews, head of the health protection division, said the algae is in fact a bacteria that produces a toxin that can irritate skin and make people, especially children, ill if they ingest it.

The same applies to pets, he said, acknowledging the risk for humans is reduced because wading into the water is less popular now than during summer months. The algae last appeared in July of last year.

“It’s gotten warmer lately and the weather has been calmer lately, and I think those are a couple of factors,” Mr. Mathews said. “I don’t think the risk is large, but people need to be made aware so they can take precautions. We wouldn’t want anyone going into the water unknowingly,” he said.

“The toxin can accumulate in the fish. It’s not a big risk either, but it’s a possibility and we’d rather be safe than sorry on that.”

Mr. Mathews said he expects the algae to be gone in a couple of weeks and it is the lone blot on what was a banner summer for the Pier 4 Park beach.

The continuing success of a pilot project that used barriers to deter birds and the E. coli contamination their droppings bring saw the beach open nearly 90 per cent of the time, he said. That rivals conditions by Beach Boulevard and Confederation Park.

“Ever since those barriers went in place, the water quality has climbed steadily year after year, and we’re hoping that in the future, soon, that similar measures can be put in place at Bayfront beach,” Mr. Mathew said. “I’m overjoyed with the results.”