By Nikki Jamieson
Westwind Weekly News
Alberta Health Services has lifted a Blue-green algae bloom advisory in southern Alberta.
The advisory, which affected the Milk River Ridge Reservoir, Acadia Valley Reservoir and Reesor Lake areas, was lifted on Nov. 10, due to recent weather cooling lake and reservoir water temperatures to such an extent that blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, is no longer a health concern.
AHS had first issued the advisory on Sept. 15 for the above regions. Following an update to Raymond town council on Oct. 6, town CAO Kurtis Pratt said that there was no immediate health concern for those who receive potable water from the Ridge Water Services Commission (RWSC).
“There is no change for residents in Raymond now that the order has been lifted. The quality of the water within the Ridge Water Services Commission water treatment plant was never compromised, this however just means that the weather conditions have changed and the algae can no longer thrive in the water at this time,” said Pratt.
The RWSC will continue to monitor if and when blue-green algae becomes a problem again..
According to AHS, blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. It appears like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, and it’s colourings range from blue-green, greenish-brown, brown and/or pinkish-red, and often smells musty or grassy.
People who come in contact with visible bluegreen algae or ingest water containing blue-green algae 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. While symptoms in children are often more pronounced, AHS stresses everyone is at risk of these symptoms. Additionally, exposure to the blue-green algae may be fatal to pets.
AHS reminds visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, at any time, and the 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 these advisories are active.