Blue-Green Algae (Cyanobacteria)

To protect yourself and your pets, avoid contact with blue-green algae blooms.
Blue Green Algae

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, occurs naturally in many bodies of water. Most often, it is present at low levels; however, warm summer weather can allow the organism to increase rapidly or “bloom.” These blooms are unpredictable, can develop quickly and move to other areas of the lake.

It’s important to be able to identify blue-green algae blooms so you can avoid contact as they can produce a toxin that may present a health risk to humans and animals. Contact with a bloom can cause eye, ear and skin irritation as well as rashes and allergic reactions.

Here are some tips to keep yourself and your pet safe when suspecting blue-green algae may be present:

  • Avoid all contact with algal blooms. If contact occurs, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Do not swim or wade (or allow your pets to swim or wade) in any areas where algae is visible.
  • Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this pond to your pets.
  • Use caution when consuming whole fish and fish trimmings from any water body where algae is suspected, as fish may store toxins in their liver.

As always, never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any pond or lake at any time. Boiling pond or lake water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. An alternate source of drinking water should be provided for pets as well.

If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae or if you require further information on health concerns and blue-green algae, please call Health Link at 811.

To report a blue-green algae bloom in the city, please contact Parks & Public Works at 403-342-8238