Swimmers should avoid Prior Lake due to blue-green algae bloom: CRD

Swimmers should avoid Prior Lake due to blue-green algae bloom: CRD
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Officials issued an alert for Prior Lake after toxic blue-green algae was discovered.

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is advising people and their pets to keep out of Prior Lake due to a toxic blue-green algae bloom.

The lake is located in Thetis Lake Regional Park near Victoria, and the CRD says the algae usually produce a visible blue-green sheen that appears as surface scum on the water.

“Not all blooms are easy to see and toxins can still be present in the water even if you cannot see a bloom,” the district says Tuesday. “Blooms are unpredictable and may occur at any time.”

Prior Lake is accessed via Highland Road in View Royal, and an advisory is now in effect in consultation with Island Health.

Until it’s lifted, the CRD says people should avoid swimming in the lake and also keep animals on a leash to prevent them from drinking the water or swimming there.

READ ALSO: Dive team recovers body of woman, 49, who drowned in Prior Lake: RCMP

That’s because blue-green algae blooms, also called cyanobacteria blooms, are “known toxin producers” that can lead to health complications, according to the CRD in a release.

“Ingesting water containing these cyanotoxins may cause a range of symptoms, including headaches and abdominal pain in humans, and can lead to lethal liver damage in dogs,” it says.

HealthLinkBC, meanwhile, says cyanobacteria can be found in all kinds of bodies of water but is more common in shallow, slow-moving or still water.

“When the amount of cyanobacteria in a water body increases, a dense mass called a bloom will form,” HealthLink says. “Cyanobacteria blooms are natural. However, some human activities (such as agriculture or a poorly functioning septic system) can make blooms more likely.”

The CRD says people can check its website or Twitter page for updates on the status of the algae bloom.

More information about blue-green algae can be found on the HealthLinkBC, Health Canada and CRD websites.

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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