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UPDATE: Testing reveals algae bloom on Wood Lake presents low risk to public

(UPDATE: May 14 @ 4:45 pm) - Testing has indicated that the large algae bloom on Wood Lake presents a low risk to the public and the water is considered safe for use.

Of course, visitors and residents are still reminded not to drink or cook using water directly from any lakes, ponds or wetlands due to the risk of waterborne illness.

"Boiling the water will not remove any toxins from blue-green algae blooms," explained Interior Health.

"Provide pets and livestock with an alternative source of drinking water where there are active algae blooms, as they can be sensitive to toxins."

Algae blooms are naturally occurring throughout BC and may vary in colours from green, blue, brown, yellow, orange to red.

They can appear like foam, scum, mats on surface or soup and some may also small unpleasant.

Algae blooms containing cyanobacteria, which is blue-green algae like what has been seen on Wood Lake, may produce harmful toxins, which is why IH sought further testing in this case.

(Original story: April 21 @ 5:25 pm) - Interior Health is alerting the public about a potentially harmful algal bloom that’s been observed on Wood Lake.

The health authority says that most algal blooms are harmless, but some species have the potential to produce toxins that can be harmful to humans.

Residents and visitors to Wood Lake are advised to:

  • Avoid all direct contact with bloom.
  • Do not consume drinking water directly from the lake
  • Do not swim or wade in any areas where the bloom is visible.
  • Provide pets and livestock with a safe alternative source of drinking water.

<who>Photo Credit: Troika Development

According to IH, algal blooms are naturally occurring throughout the province and may vary in colour from blue, green, brown, yellow, orange to red.

They will appear like foam, scum, mats on surface or soup and some may also smell unpleasant.

“Algal blooms containing cyanobacteria may produce harmful toxins,” explained a release from IH.

“Consuming or coming into contact with water contaminated with cyanotoxins can cause a range of symptoms.”

Those symptoms can include headaches, nausea, fever, sore throat, dizziness, stomach cramps, diarrhea, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle aches, mouth ulcers, blistering of the lips, skin rashes and irritation of the ears and eyes.

“It is important that you rinse your body with clean water immediately after exposure to contaminated water,” added the release. “Rinsing is recommended even without symptoms.”

If you’re showing any of the symptoms listed above and believe they could be from exposure to cyanobacteria, consult your healthcare provider.

For more information on Cyanobacteria Blooms, click this link.

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