Toxic bacteria bloom is back, closing Pelee Island's beaches

Aug 28, 2014

The same type of toxic bacteria bloom that threatened Toledo's water is now affecting a small 

Some of the toxic bacteria that got into Toledo's drinking supply is now hitting Pelee Island.
Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Canadian Island on the western end of Lake Erie.

Health officials on Pelee Island have closed the beaches and are warning people not to drink the water.

This is crummy timing, since the Labor Day weekend is usually good business for the island's tourist economy.

Rick Masse is the mayor.

"It's not a really good advertising for our community,” he says.

“All I can say is the businesses are still open and operating, it's just that we're not going to be able to use our pristine beaches ... or what's been traditionally pristine beaches in Lake Erie."

Masse says Toledo should have been a wake-up call.

“Unless we figure out how to mitigate this, it will continue every year. Basically, the way I look at it is, we are poisoning ourselves."

He also says it's tough on small communities like Pelee Island to test their own water systems, and he's hoping the Canadian government will help cover the costs.