Update: Friday, April 10, 9:30 a.m.
Testing has identified an algae bloom in Shuswap Lake to be non-toxic.
The approximately 30-metre wide bloom located southwest of Herald Provincial Park on Thursday, April 9, was initially suspected to have been cyanobacteria – commonly known as blue-green algae. According to a related media release by Interior Health and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD), cyanobacteria can produce chemicals that are poisonous if swallowed by people, pets or livestock.
In a subsequent April 9 release, the CSRD stated laboratory testing of samples taken from the algae bloom showed the substance to be non-toxic.
“Tests of two samples were returned to Interior Health and the CSRD on Thursday evening,” states the CSRD release. “Analysis of the samples determined the algae and organic matter is not cyanobacteria (blue-green algae). Therefore it poses no risk to the public.
“That being said, Interior Health advises against drinking untreated water from lakes, ponds or wetlands at any time.”
The public is being warned not to drink the water in Shuswap Lake southwest of Herald Provincial Park due to a suspected algae bloom.
The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has issued a news release stating that “effective immediately and until further notice, the public is advised not to drink water from the lake in the vicinity of the bloom site and should avoid touching the algae, which has partially washed up on shore near Ashby Point, southwest of Herald Park.”
Citizens are warned not to wade or swim in the area of the bloom and should prevent pets from ingesting any water or swimming nearby. They are also advised not to fish or consume fish caught in the area.
“The bloom, which is suspected to be Cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green algae), is a mass of approximately 30-metres wide.”
Testing is underway and it’s not known how long the area will be affected.
The warning points out that some blue-green algae blooms can produce chemicals that are poisonous if swallowed by people, pets or livestock. Blooms can cover the surface of the water and may look like thick pea soup. Not all blooms, however, are easy to see. Toxins can still be in the water even if you can not see the bloom.
“If ingested, symptoms of exposure to blue-green algae can include headaches, nausea, fever, sore throat, dizziness, stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches and blistering the mouth and lips. If you have been exposed to blue-green algae and have symptoms, you’re asked to contact your health care provider right away.”
More information can be found at the HealthLinkBC file No. 47 at this link.
If you have concerns, or wish to report possible algae bloom activity, contact the Report a Poacher or Polluter line (RAPP line) at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or #7277 on the TELUS Mobility Network.