Initial water quality testing has shown a possible algal bloom in parts of Shuswap Lake contains no sign of harmful cyanobacteria.
On June 29, the Shuswap Watershed Council (SWC) announced an algal bloom cautionary advisory had been issued in response to blooms seen in parts of the lake, including Salmon Arm Bay, Canoe Beach and Sunnybrae.
A sign posted at Canoe Beach states the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, the City of Salmon Arm and Interior Health are “monitoring an algae bloom in the Salmon Arm wharf and Sunnybrae/Canoe Point areas of Shuswap Lake.”
In a July 9 update, the SWC said the advisory remained in effect. However, testing at sites impacted by the “potential algal bloom” hadn’t shown “any signs of unsafe water conditions that can be associated with cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. Furthermore, the visible signs of algae have dissipated.”
More water testing was to be done, however, with Interior Health recommending two consecutive samples be collected that show no sign of microcystin (the unsafe toxin that can be associated with cyanobacteria) before a cautionary advisory can be lifted.
“Therefore, since there has just been one sampling event to date, the cautionary advisory will remain in place,” explained the SWC.
The advisory issued on June 29, includes the following recommendations:
• Avoid direct contact with the algal bloom. If contact is made, rinse your body with clean water;
• Recreational activities such as swimming are discouraged in areas where the bloom is present;
• Do not consume drinking water directly from the lake. If your domestic water intake is from the Salmon Arm wharf area or Sunnybrae/Canoe Point, consider using an alternate source for drinking water. Contact your water supplier for more information.
• Consider providing pets and livestock with an alternate source of drinking water.
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