Elevated levels of fecal bacteria in Pigeon Lake prompts health warning

·2 min read
Alberta Health Services is advising people not to swim or wade in Pigeon Lake, near Zeiner Park Beach, after elevated levels of fecal bacteria were detected in the water there. (Kory Siegers/CBC - image credit)
Alberta Health Services is advising people not to swim or wade in Pigeon Lake, near Zeiner Park Beach, after elevated levels of fecal bacteria were detected in the water there. (Kory Siegers/CBC - image credit)

Alberta Health Services is warning the public of fecal bacteria in a lake southwest of Edmonton.

Elevated levels of fecal bacteria were detected through testing lake water at Zeiner Park Beach at Pigeon Lake, located about 100 kilometres southwest of Edmonton, and AHS is advising people not to swim or wade in the water there.

The current levels of bacteria could lead to gastrointestinal illness if someone swallows the water. Contact with the water could lead to skin, ear and eye infections, AHS says.

AHS Environmental Public Health officers will monitor the water at the beach, but the advisory will stay in effect until further notice.

Blue-green algae bloom advisory still in effect

A blue-green algae bloom identified around Heritage Lake, nearly 15 kilometres northwest of Edmonton near Morinville, Alta., on July 2, remains in effect nearly a month later.

It will remain so until further notice, AHS said.

Blue-green algae occurs naturally, often becoming visible when weather conditions are calm. It may look 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, AHS says.

Visitors and people living near the shores of the lake are advised to avoid all contact with the algae blooms. If someone does come into contact with the algae, they should wash with tap water as soon as possible, AHS says.

No one should swim or wade in areas where blue-green algae is visible.

People should consider limiting how much fish they eat from this reservoir, but should not feed fish from this lake to pets.

People can safely consume fish fillets from this reservoir, however, AHS says.

No human or animal should consume or use water directly from Heritage Lake at this time. Boiling the water will also not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae, AHS says.

AHS notes that any parts of the lake where blue-green algae bloom is not visible can still be used for recreation, despite the health advisory.

There are 18 other blue-green algae bloom advisories in effect for Alberta Health Services' North zone.

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