A lake in central Alberta has shown blue-green algae blooms in some areas, so Alberta Health Services has issued a warning for those hoping to get on the water.
The blooms have been reported in areas of Wabamun Lake, about 67 kilometres west of Edmonton.
Anyone looking to use the lake is encouraged to take several precautions:
- Avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms. If contact occurs, wash with tap-water as soon as possible.
- Do not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is visible.
- Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this lake to your pets.
- Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from this lake, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver. But people can safely consume fish fillets from this lake.
Anyone who comes into contact with or drinks water with blue-green algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Symptoms usually start one to two hours after contact and last one to two days.
Exposure to this type of algae may be fatal to pets.
Parts of the lake where blue-green algae blooms are not visible are safe to use for recreational purposes, even while the warning is in effect.
Blue-green algae occurs naturally and becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. It looks like scum, glass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of the water. Despite the name, the blooms can be greenish-brown, brown and/or pinkish red and often smell musty or grassy.
Last weekend, a warning was issued for a number of Alberta lakes, including Wabamun, due to elevated levels of fecal bacteria.