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Blue-green algae warning issued at Alberta’s Clear Lake, Pine Coulee Reservoir

A blue-green algae warning has been issued for the Pine Coulee Reservoir. Sarah Kraus / Global News

A warning about blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) was issued for Clear Lake Friday, following a warning for the Pine Coulee Reservoir on Thursday. Residents that live near the shores of the lake or reservoir or anyone who may be visiting should take precautions so they do not come in contact with the algae. Clear Lake is located east of Stavely; Pine Coulee Reservoir is located about 120 kilometres south of Calgary.

Some precautions that should be taken include:

  • Avoid all contact with blue-green algae. If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
  • If blue-green algae is visible in a body of water, do not swim or wade in the water. Don’t allow pets to enter the water.
  • Do not feed your pet any fish product from the affected reservoir.

Visitors to the area, as well as residents, are being asked to never drink or cook with untreated water from any recreational water source. Boiling this water will not get rid of the toxins that are produced by blue-green algae. Pets and livestock should also not drink the water.

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Blue-green algae occurs naturally and can appear like scum, grass clippings or fuzz on the surface of the water. This algae can vary in colour from blue-green to pinkish-red and it will often smell musty or like grass.

READ MORE: ‘The change is just incredible’: AHS changes the way it issues blue-green algae advisories

If anyone comes in contact with blue-green algae or ingests water that is infected by it, they may experience a variety of symptoms such as skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore eyes, fever, diarrhea or nausea and vomiting. These symptoms normally appear within one to three hours after contact and usually resolve in one to two days. Symptoms may be more evident in children, but all people are at risk.

Weather conditions such as wind can cause algae blooms to move throughout the lake or reservoir, so advisories will remain in effect until further notice.

It is important to note that areas of Clear Lake and the Pine Coulee Reservoir where the algae is not visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even though the algae advisory is in place.

If you think you may have come in contact with blue-green algae or want further information, contact Health Link at 811 or visit www.ahs.ca/bga.

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