Blue-green algae advisory announced for Pine Lake

Alberta Health Services has issued a blue-green algae health advisory for Pine Lake.

Alberta Health Services has issued a blue-green algae health advisory for Pine Lake.

The algae, which can cause a variety of health problems, has been identified in areas of the lake. People who live near the shores of the lake or who are visiting it are advised to take several 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 the lake.

Areas of Pine Lake in which the blue-green algae bloom is not visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while the advisory is in place.

Blue-green algae is naturally occurring and often become visible when weather conditions are calm. It looks like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water. It can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red. It often smells musty or grassy.

People who come in contact with visible blue-green algae, or who ingest water containing blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), 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.

Visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any lake, including Pine Lake, at any time. Boiling lake 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 the advisory is active.

A blue-green algae advisory was issued for Pigeon Lake in July. Advisories have been issued for both Pine and Pigeon lakes the previous four years, and were lifted later in the fall.

Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another. As such, this current advisory will remain in effect for Pine Lake until further notice.

Anyone who suspects a problem related to blue-green algae or requires further information on health concerns and blue-green algae, is asked to call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online, at www.albertahealthservices.ca/bga.asp.