City of Hamilton Public Health Services announced on Friday that it has confirmed the presence of toxin-producing Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria) at the Bayfront Park Boat Launch, Pier 4 Park, Harbour West Marina, and throughout the marinas on Macassa Bay.
The waters were last tested on August 1st. The beaches at Bayfront and Pier 4 Park have been closed for the 2018 swimming season due to a history of high levels of bacteria and/or their toxins. Levels of E. coli bacteria at these beaches is at least five times higher than other beaches in Hamilton. Hamilton beaches on Lake Ontario at Beach Boulevard, Van Wagner’s, and Confederation Park were last tested on July 31st and are open for swimming.
Contact with blue-green algae should be avoided due to the potential health risks associated with it.
Adverse health effects are mainly caused by drinking the water that is contaminated with blue-green algae toxins. Skin contact with blue-green algae contaminated water can cause skin irritation and itching. Exposure to blue-green algae toxins, if present in sufficient amounts, can cause headaches, fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, skin rashes and mucous membrane irritation.
Residents and visitors are advised to avoid contact with the water along the western shoreline of Hamilton Harbour, including while launching or trailering watercraft. They are also advised to Wash off as soon as possible with clean water, if they come in contact with the water and to keep pets out of the water.
Public Health services monitors beaches throughout the summer with beach samples collected and tested for E. coli bacteria at least once per week during the swimming season.