Blue-green algae bloom advisory issued by Water Security Agency

The provincial government is advising residents about blue-green algae blooms forming in Saskatchewan’s lakes.

Blue-green algae starts to form during hot conditions with little wind or rain.

Water Security Agency spokesperson Patrick Boyle says it’s more harmful for pets and animals.

“If it’s ingested, it can be toxic, but you can get what people refer to as ‘swimmer’s itch,’ or other things like that if you come into contact with it,” Boyle said. “The reason why we have such good crops in this province is because of the nutrient-rich soil, and at the same time that can cause some algae blooms in some lakes across the province.”

Boyle says some lakes may already have blue-green algae blooms popping up.

“They come, and they break up, and if the wind and wave action, or rainfall, or something like that happens, they usually typically break up and then essentially go away,” Boyle said. “Certainly it’s an issue right now. As you get into August, the hot and drier temperatures start to creep up on us here and it becomes more relevant.”

Boyle says a bloom would need to be quite significant in size in order to cause a beach closure.

“Certainly public health will look at that and potentially close an area because of that,” Boyle said. “There’s a beach monitoring program that’s in place, and if some of that data came back indicating that it is an issue, then I think it would be reviewed and if you had to make a closure then certainly public health would look at that.”

Currently, the only beach that does not allow swimming due to test results is Sun Dale Beach on Last Mountain Lake due to E.coli exceedance.

Humans drinking from or swimming in water bodies with blue-green algae could experience redness in skin, sore throat, cramps or diarrhea.

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