Increasing numbers of nutrients in Beaver/Elk Lake leading to blue/ green algae blooms have been affecting the water quality for years.
Island Health and the Capital Regional District (CRD) have put up warning signs, advising people and their animals to stay out of the water as the toxins from the algae blooms can be very harmful.
“They can be toxic to the nervous system or to the liver and they can also be an irritant to the skin or respiratory system,” Murray Fyfe, medical health officer for Island Health said.
According to the Capital Regional District, The lakes suffer significant eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients) due to external (~ 30 per cent) and internal (~ 70 per cent) nutrient loading, with documented evidence of water quality deterioration since the 1980s.
Fyfe also mentioned even if you can’t see the algae it doesn’t mean the toxins aren’t there.
And it not only the algae that has been the problem.
On Aug. 16, the CRD and Island health issued an advisory on high levels of bacteria coming from the beaches at Elk Lake.
Island Health and CRD say this is largely in part of the geese population leaving bacteria which are equally as dangerous for people and animals health.
But next week there’s a plan to make some changes.
“Were trying to develop a remediation plan so we’ve got some options going towards the parks and environmental committee…that might be a solution to reducing blue-green algae blooms,” Glenn Harris, CRD environmental specialist, said.
Harris says the blooms are happening more frequently in recent years, the CRD has all the research and that’s why they are ready to move forward with some real action
They will be recommending an in-lake oxygenation system which comes at a cost of $1.4 million and annual upkeep of 150-thousand-dollars.
And as for the bacterial problem, it is something they will continue to monitor.
More information about the ongoing problem: https://www.crd.bc.ca/project/elk-beaver-lake-initiative