By Rob Vogt Local Press Writer
People who use the Twin Valley reservoir and Clear Lake, both west of Stavely, are urged to be cautious, with the identification of blue-green algae in the water. On Aug. 16, Alberta Health Services announced blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom has been identified in areas of Twin Valley reservoir and Clear Lake. Residents living near the shores of this reservoir or this lake, as well as visitors to these water bodies, are advised to take the following precautions:
• Avoid all contact with blue-green algae 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 is visible.
• Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from these water bodies to your pets.
• Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from these water bodies, 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 Twin Valley Reservoir or Clear 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.
Blue-green algae 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 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, or who 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. 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 Twin Valley Reservoir and Clear Lake, until further notice. Please note that areas of Twin Valley Reservoir and Clear Lake in which the blue-green algae bloom is not visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while this blue-green algae advisory is in place. If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae, or if you require further information on health concerns and blue-green algae, please call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online, at www.ahs.ca/bga.