Mitch Borley tosses a ball for his golden retriever/cocker spaniel cross dog named Bentley at Three Mile Bend on Wednesday.

Algae alert issued

A blue-green algae advisory is in place for Three Mile Bend.

A blue-green algae advisory is in place for Three Mile Bend.

City staff observed a milky/murky looking substance in the pond closest to the parking lot last week.

This is Red Deer’s first known blue-green algae bloom. Blue-green algae forms in water that is shallow, warm and slow-moving or still. It grows mostly in summer months and can contain the cyanobacterial toxins, which are poisonous.

Environmental Services sent samples of the water for testing, and the results came back positive for the cyanobacteria, otherwise known as blue-green algae.

Signs have been posted in the area advising residents to avoid human or animal contact with any visible algae bloom. Pet owners are asked to be especially vigilant in inspecting the water and shoreline before allowing their pets to enter the water.

The Blue Green Algae Advisory will remain in place until a rescind notice is issued.

While the advisory is in place residents should take the following precautions:

l Avoid all contact with algae blooms. If contact occurs, wash with clean water as soon as possible.

l Do not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where algae is visible.

l Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this pond to your pets.

l Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from the pond, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver. (People can safely consume fish fillets from this pond).

l Never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any pond or lake, including Three Mile Bend, at any time. Boiling pond or lake water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). An alternate source of drinking water should be provided for pets while this advisory is active.

“The off-leash dog park and ponds at Three Mile Bend are safe for the public and pets to use as long they avoid direct contact with the algae blooms.” said Trevor Poth, Parks superintendent. “We are working closely with Alberta Health Services and Alberta Environmental and Sustainable Resources to manage the issue and mitigate any negative effects to the Three Mile Bend Recreation Area.”

For more information about blue-green algae, including health risks associated with exposure, go to www.albertahealthservices.ca

To report an algae bloom in the city call the Environmental Services Department at 403-342-8750.

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