AHS issues blue-green algae alert for Heritage Lake

by Morinville News Staff

Alberta Health Services issued a blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom advisory issued for Heritage Lake on Friday July 27.

Blue-green algae occurs naturally and typically becomes visible in calm weather conditions. It looks like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water. Though called blue-green algae it can also be greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.

Residents are advised to avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms. Should contact occur, they are advised to wash with tap water as soon as possible.

AHS further advises people not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is visible.

Other recommendations include:

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).

Do not eat shellfish (e.g., crayfish, clams) collected from this lake or feed them to pets.
As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, including Heritage 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.

AHS says people who come in contact with visible blue-green algae or who ingest water containing blue-green algae may experience symptoms within one to three hours, which include skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Areas of Heritage Lake in which the blue-green algae bloom is NOT visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while AHS’ blue-green algae Health Advisory is in place.

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