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Blue-green Algae Alert

19 August 2019

McLaren Dam

Blue-green algae present in the McLaren Dam Reservoir
Avoid Persons or Animals from entering water and ingesting water

Blooms of blue-green algae have been spotted in lakes across Alberta. Blue-green algae can look like scum, fuzz, or globs on the water’s surface and can appear blue-green, greenish brown, brown, or pinkish red in colour with a musty or grassy smell.

Bodies of water that contain blue-green algae are to be avoided by you and your animals at all times. Do not swim or wade in contaminated water, and if contact is made by you or your animal wash the affected area immediately. Whole fish or fish trimmings from contaminated bodies of water should not be ingested by people or animals, though fillets should be safe for consumption. It is also imperative that water contaminated with blue-green algae is not used to cook, drink, or water vegetable gardens. Boiling this water will not sterilize it.

The symptoms listed below often appear within a few hours of contact and are usually resolved within a couple of days. Visible symptoms are much more prominent in children. If you notice any combination of these symptoms in a person or animal, contact their physician or veterinarian immediately:

skin irritation
sore throat
sore, red eyes
swollen lips
hay fever symptoms

The disappearance of blue-green algae does not indicate that the water is safe. The harmful toxins can remain in the water for several weeks after the algae blooms have disappeared. For more information on affected areas and the status of particular lakes, please visit Alberta Health Services.