Quebec could restrict the sale of dishwashing detergent containing phosphates if the federal government doesn’t ban the product to help control blue-green algae, Quebec Environment Minister Line Beauchamp said yesterday.
Speaking after a tour of three Outaouais lakes contaminated with the algae, Beauchamp said it would be preferable if Environment Canada banned phosphate detergents, which have contributed to algae blooms in 120 Quebec lakes this year.
Lac Leamy, in Gatineau, has become the eighth Outaouais lake where blue-green algae has been reported.
Blooms of the potentially toxic algae also were reported at Cameron Lake and Lake Barbue, near Gracefield; lakes Edja near Blue Sea; Carman, Kingsmere and Meech in Gatineau Park and Poisson Blanc near Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours.
The Outaouais public health agency had warned cottagers not to drink the water in these lakes, nor use it for bathing, cooking or washing dishes.
Meech Lake’s O’Brien Beach re-opened to swimmers this month after the National Capital Commission closed it on July 24 because of an algae bloom.
Beauchamp said algae blooms will occur less frequently next year because the province will plant more trees around many Quebec lakes to control soil erosion.