Gateway Gazette

Alberta Health Services: Water Advisories in Calgary and Area

Contaminated water advisory issued for Elbow River (within the city of Calgary)

Elbow-River-2CALGARY – Due to elevated levels of fecal coliforms detected in the water of Elbow River (within the city of Calgary, between 25 Ave. S.W. and 9 Ave. S.E.), Alberta Health Services (AHS) is advising the public not to swim or wade in the Elbow River at or between the above sites, effective immediately.

The public is also advised not to drink this untreated river water, as water-borne organisms, including fecal coliforms, can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Elevated levels of fecal coliforms were detected via routine testing of the river water. At current levels, skin, ear and eye infections can result from any contact with Elbow River water.

AHS Environmental Public Health officers will continue to monitor the water of the Elbow River. Signage will also be posted at common river access points.

This advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria) bloom advisory issued for Twin Valley Reservoir

csiro_scienceimage_4628_bluegreen_algae_in_irrigation_drainCALGARY – A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom has been identified in areas of Twin Valley Reservoir. Residents living near the shores of this reservoir, as well as visitors to this reservoir, are advised to take the following precautions:

  • Avoid all contact with blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) 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 (cyanobacteria) is visible.
  • Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this reservoir to your pets.
  • Consider limiting human consumption of whole fish and fish trimmings from this reservoir, as it is known that fish may store toxins in their liver. (People can safely consume fish fillets from this reservoir).

As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any untreated water source, including Twin Valley Reservoir, at any time. Boiling this water will notremove the toxins produced by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). An alternate source of drinking water should also be provided for pets and livestock, while this advisory is active.

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is naturally occurring, and often become visible when weather conditions are calm. Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) can be blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red, and often smell musty or grassy.

People who come in contact with visible blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), or who ingest water containing blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), may experience skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Symptoms usually appear within one to three hours and resolve in one to two days. Symptoms in children are often more pronounced; however, all humans are at risk of these symptoms.

Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the reservoir to another. As such, this advisory will remain in effect for Twin Valley Reservoir, until further notice.

Please note that areas of Twin Valley Reservoir in which the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom isNOT visible can still be used for recreational purposes, even while this Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria) Advisory is in place.

If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), or if you require further information on health concerns and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), please call Health Link at 811. Additional information is also available online, at www.ahs.ca/bga.

For other waterways affected within the Province of Alberta go to the My Wild Alberta website.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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