News Release - August 10, 2005
BLUE-GREEN ALGAE WARNING
Saskatchewan Environment and Saskatchewan Health are advising the public to avoid swimming in, or drinking, water where blue-green algae blooms are occurring. Pet owners and livestock producers are also advised to keep their animals away from such water.
Heavy growth of blue-green algae has been reported on several lakes in southern Saskatchewan. Algae blooms are heavy concentrations of blue-green algae, which often give the water a pea soup appearance, usually blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour.
Algal blooms commonly occur during calm, hot weather in areas of lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow moving or still water that is rich in nutrients. The blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind.
"Because these factors vary from year to year and from one lake to another, it is difficult to predict when an algal bloom will occur, except to say that these are more prevalent from June to mid September," Saskatchewan Environment's Murray Hilderman said. "Unfortunately, this coincides with our most active season for outdoor recreation."
Swimming in, or drinking, this algae-contaminated water can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps or diarrhea. In addition, caution should be taken when considering the consumption of fish or shellfish caught in areas of a water body where a bloom exists; in particular the internal organs of the fish should not be eaten.
If you have questions about blue-green algae, please contact your local Medical Health Officer.
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