Fecal bacteria leads to advisories at multiple Alberta lakes, including Wabamun and Pigeon

Click to play video: 'Lake water advisories leaves some Alberta campers steering clear of taking a swim'
Lake water advisories leaves some Alberta campers steering clear of taking a swim
WATCH: Some Alberta campers were disappointed this long weekend, after water advisories are kept them out of the lakes. This comes as a heat wave sweeps across the province. Chris Chacon reports – Aug 2, 2020

Alberta Health Services has issued a series of advisories at central and northern lakes in the province due to “elevated levels of fecal bacteria currently present in the water.”

On Saturday, AHS said that it was advising the public not to swim at Wabamun Lake Provincial Park beach or the Zeiner Park Beach at Pigeon Lake.

On Friday, it had also warned against swimming at Williamson Provincial Park at Sturgeon Lake, Buffalo Lake at Rochon Sands and Gull Lake at Aspen Beach.

Wabamun and Zeiner lakes are in the Edmonton region, Sturgeon Lake is east of Grande Prairie, while Buffalo and Gull lakes are in the Red Deer region.

Health officials say that at current levels, it’s possible to become ill with gastrointestinal issues after coming into contact with the water and get skin, ear and eye infections.

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If Albertans enter the water at the affected beaches, they should avoid contact with their face and mouth and wash hands after exiting.

AHS is posting signs at the beaches to inform those who visit about the high fecal levels.

Blue-green algae advisories

A number of Alberta Lakes are also under blue-green algae warnings, including Sturgeon and Pigeon lakes, as well as many others.

Blue-green algae at Moose Lake in Alberta on Monday, July 6, 2020. Courtesy, Kaylee Moser

Blue-green algae can lead to skin irritation, sore throat and eyes, fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The algae can also be toxic to pets, AHS said.

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Albertans should aim to avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms, which can appear as scum, fuzz or globs on the water surface or grass-like clippings. Despite its name, it can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown or pinkish-red.

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