Water Ban on Pelee Island

The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is warning Pelee Island residents to use only bottled water, not eat fish caught in Lake Erie and stay away from the beach.

The blue-green algae bloom in Lake Erie is affecting water quality along the shore of the island and in private well water systems that get their water from the lake. A news release from the health unit says even boiling the water will not remove potential toxins. Mayor Rick Masse says residents were warned weeks ago to stock up on bottled water.

BlackburnNews.com was unable to reach Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Gary Kirk Tuesday afternoon, and was told he would not be available for comment until Wednesday morning.

The blooms can produce a powerful toxin called microcystins, the same toxin that provoked a water ban earlier this summer in Toledo, Ohio. If ingested in small quantities, the microcystins can cause headaches, fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Ingesting larger quantities can cause even more severe symptoms. Masse says the clinic on the island is capable of handling any anticipated illnesses.