August 15, 2019 issued at 4:41 pm – Alberta Health Services has confirmed a blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom at Wabamun Lake and Jack Fish Lake and will be issuing a health advisory for the noted lakes
Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom advisory issued for Wabamun Lake
August 16, 2019
Parkland County – A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom has been identified in areas of Wabamun Lake. Residents living near the shores of this lake, as well as visitors to this lake, are advised to take the following precautions:
- Avoid all contact with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) 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. (People can safely consume fish fillets from this lake).
As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, including Wabamun Lake, at any time. Boiling of this water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. An alternate source of drinking water should also be provided for pets and livestock, while this advisory is active.
Blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, blue-green algae can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.
People who come in contact with visible blue-green algae or who ingest water containing blue-green algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced; however, all humans are at risk of these symptoms.
Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another. As such, this advisory will remain in effect for Wabamun Lake, until further notice.
Please note that areas of Wabamun Lake in which the blue-green algae bloom is NOT visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while this blue-green algae Health Advisory is in place.
If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae or if you require further information on health concerns and blue-green algae, please call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online, at www.ahs.ca/bga.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
What is blue-green algae?
Also known as “cyanobacteria,” blue-green algae occur naturally in many Alberta lakes. Most of the year, it is present at low levels and less of a concern; however, warm summer weather allows the organism to increase rapidly or “bloom.”
Why should I avoid blue-green algal blooms?
Blue-green algae can produce a toxin that may present a health risk to humans and animals.
Contact with a blue-green algae bloom can cause eye, ear, and skin irritation, rashes and allergic reactions.
Ingesting untreated contaminated water from the lake can cause nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and liver damage; in high concentrations, the toxin can cause severe illness and death.
What does a blue-green algal bloom look like?
Blue-green algae blooms can appear blue-green, green‑brown, brown or red/pink. It may look like grass clippings, globules, fuzz balls or paint/pea soup. Decomposing blooms can appear white or purple, and smell of ammonia.
Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable, can develop very quickly and can move to other areas of the lake.
How can I protect myself and others?
Avoid swimming in water with visible blooms. Areas without visible blooms may still be used.
Do not drink untreated lake water. Boiling the water does not remove or destroy toxins.
Avoid contact with blue-green algae that has washed up on shorelines.
Keep children, pets and livestock away from blue‑green algal blooms.
What do I do if I come in contact with a blue-green algae bloom?
Shower promptly with clean, treated water. If symptoms develop, call Health Link at 811.