Water Security Agency, Ministry of Health warning residents of blue-green algae

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health and the Water Security Agency (WSA)are wanting to makes sure swimmers and boaters are on the lookout for blue-green algae blooms.

Some who have visited the lake this summer may have already noticed the blooms on bodies of water across the province.

The blooms tend to give the water a pea-soup type of look and can be blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour.

Ron Podbielski with the Water Security Agency said it’s important for people to stay vigilant at this time of the year since the warm weather can spawn more blue-green algae, especially in isolated areas.

He explained how the algae blooms form naturally and are not the result of water pollution.

“We generally see the biggest concerns come up in July when you have that very hot weather that provides the conditions for blue-green algae to flourish,” said Podbielski. “It is a naturally occurring phenomenon.”

The reason why experts keep telling recreationists to make sure they do not swim in or ingest water that is contaminated by these blooms is because it can affect your health.

The WSA warns residents that this type of water is not safe for people, their pets and even livestock.

“It can cause a number of unpleasant conditions: red skin, sore throat, cramps or diarrhea,” mentioned Podbielski. “If you have any concerns that you have been in contact with blue-green algae, please get in contact with a health provider as soon as possible.”

Residents should also note that fish or shellfish caught in areas where blooms exist may want to deter from consuming parts of the fish to avoid those symptoms.

The blooms typically last up to three weeks in the particular body of water and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by wind.

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