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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Blue-green Algae bloom advisory issued for Chain Lakes Reservoir


Pincher Creek - A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom has been identified in areas of Chain Lakes Reservoir (97 kilometres north of Pincher Creek).

Please note: although this Advisory is specific to Chain Lakes Reservoir, all South Zone residents are reminded to be vigilant for the presence of blue-green algae in all bodies of water, including private ponds and irrigation canals, which are not routinely monitored by AHS. If blue-green algae are believed to be present, the same precautions outlined below are advised. To learn more about blue-green algae, including the visual appearance of the algae, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/bga.asp.


Residents living near the shores of this reservoir, as well as visitors to this reservoir, 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 reservoir to your pets.

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

As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, including Chain Lakes Reservoir, at any time. Boiling this water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). An alternate source of drinking water should also be provided for pets and livestock, while this advisory is active.

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is naturally occurring, and often become visible when weather conditions are calm. Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) 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 (cyanobacteria), 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.

Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the reservoir to another. As such, this advisory will remain in effect for Chain Lakes Reservoir, until further notice. Areas of Chain Lakes Reservoir in which the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom is NOT visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while this Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Advisory is in place.

If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), or if you require further information on health concerns and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), please call Health Link at 811.

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