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Pier 4 Park Beach Closed due to the Presence of Toxin-Producing Blue-green algae

HAMILTON, ON – August 4, 2016Public Health Services has closed Pier 4 Park Beach from swimming and wading due to the presence of toxin-producing Blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria). The public are urged to not enter and avoid contact with the water at Pier 4 Park Beach because the concentration of microcystins (a toxin) in the water is above 10 parts per billion. People who accidentally come into contact with the water should wash themselves off as soon as possible with clean water. Pets should also be kept out of the water at Pier 4 Park Beach. Contact with the water while launching or trailering watercraft should also be avoided.

Blue-green algae blooms have also been observed at several locations along the western shoreline of Hamilton Harbour. The concentration of microcystins in the water was tested and found to be above 10 parts per billion at the Harbour West Marina and at the Bayfront Park Boat Launch. Bayfront Park Beach is currently closed for the 2016 swimming season due to a history of high levels of E. coli bacteria and toxin-producing Blue-green algae. The microcystin concentrations in the water at other public beaches are being monitored but have not surpassed the threshold of 10 parts per billion.  

For the current status of the water quality at Hamilton beaches please call the City of Hamilton Public Health Services Safe Water Infoline at 905-546-2189 or visit

Health Effects

Some blue-green algae have the potential to produce toxins or skin irritants. Adverse health effects are mainly caused by drinking 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
  • mucous membrane irritation

Anyone who has recently been in direct contact with the waters of Pier 4 Beach, and is experiencing headaches, fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting, is advised to contact their physician.

The safety of Hamilton’s drinking water supply is not affected by this situation.

More information about blue-green algae can be found by visiting Health Canada and the World Health Organization