The following news release was issued by the Halifax Regional Municipality:
The Halifax Regional Municipality is advising residents that due to the presence of algae blooms, a risk advisory is in effect for Lake Banook and Lake Micmac. Residents are encouraged to avoid swimming in both lakes until further notice.
Birch Cove Beach, which is located at Lake Banook, will also be closed to swimming until further notice.
Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is naturally occurring in freshwater environments and may become visible when weather conditions are calm. These organisms can multiply rapidly during the summer, leading to extensive growth called a bloom. Some types of algae produce toxins during blooms and when these blooms decay, the toxins may be released into the water, posing a risk to people and pets.
Lake users are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Avoid all contact with blue-green algae blooms. If contact occurs, wash with tap water as soon as possible.
- Do not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where blue-green algae is visible.
- Avoid consuming fish that has come from these lakes.
People who come in contact with blue-green algae or who ingest water containing blue-green algae may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Children and immune-compromised individuals are at a higher risk.
Municipal staff have collected water samples to determine the presence and concentration of toxins in the water. Test results are expected by Thursday, Aug. 23 and will be made public once they have been finalized. In the meantime, the municipality is urging lake users to take precautions and avoid swimming or allowing pets in the affected area.
The municipality will advise when the risk advisory has been lifted.
To learn more about algae blooms, visit here.