Health unit issues warning to stay away from Pottersburg Creek
London Community News
Water samples taken by the Ministry of the Environment from Pottersburg Creek in the Oxford Street and Industrial Road area have been found to contain a toxin found in blue-green algae that can pose a risk to wildlife and human health.
As a result, the Middlesex-London Health Unit is advising area residents to keep themselves, family members and their pets away from the water, and to not consume any fish from the creek until further notice.
“With the start of the Canada Day long weekend and very warm temperatures, we want to avoid any risk to the general population,” said Iqbal Kalsi, manager of Environmental Health with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, in a news release. “Eating fish from the creek, ingesting water or even coming in contact with the water can be significant health risk for both people and animals, so it is best to avoid Pottersburg Creek in the area of Industrial Road and Oxford Street.”
Earlier this week, staff from the Ministry of the Environment visited the site and observed extensive amounts of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, covering the bottom of Pottersburg Creek. Samples of the material were collected for identification at the ministry’s laboratory and were confirmed to be cyanobacteria.
The results of testing also confirmed the presence of microcystin in the water. Microcystin is a toxin created by cyanobacteria, which can be very toxic for plants and animals including humans. Further analysis will be completed by the ministry lab to determine the concentration of microcystin in the sample.
Water samples taken both upstream and downstream of the area did not show elevated levels of cyanobacteria or microcystin.