A blue-green algae bloom has been reported at Lower Thetis Lake in Thetis Lake Regional Park.
Following consultation with Island Health, the Capital Regional District has advised that visitors and their pets avoid drinking, swimming or recreating near the lake.
Blue-green algae, a secreter of cyanotoxins, produces a blue-green sheen visible as surface scum on the water – although its toxins can oftentimes be invisible to the naked eye. Symptoms of cyanotoxin ingestion include skin irritation, headaches, abdominal pain, vomiting in humans and liver damage that can be lethal in animals such as dogs.
Algae blooms can occur any time of year and across of variety of freshwater bodies, according to the CRD. They form when lake bed nutrients mix with surface water – a common event in shallow water bodies such as Beaver Lake, and more likely in winter for deeper lakes such as Elk Lake, following storm events or other instances of lake turnover.
“If you see a blue-green algae bloom, it is best to assume that toxins are present, and avoid contact with the water,” states a CRD warning on its website. They ask that if you see a bloom, report it to the CRD’s info line at 250-360-3000.
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