A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) advisory has been issued for a Strathcona County lake ahead of the Labour Day long weekend. 

Alberta Health Services (AHS) issued the advisory on Wednesday (Aug. 31) after blue-green algae was identified in Hastings Lake. Blue-green algae can harm human health, so advisories are issued when blooms are identified or confirmed by sample results. 

Blue-green algae occurs naturally in Alberta during calm and warmer weather, generally from July to September. Common health risks related to blue-green algae exposure include: 

  • Skin irritation 
  • Rash 
  • Sore throat 
  • Sore red eyes 
  • Swollen lips 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhoea 
  • Fever 

Often appearing as grass clippings, scum, fuzz, or globs on the surface of the water, blue-green algae can appear blue-green, greenish-brown, brown, and/or pinkish-red and smell musty.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) advises people who come into contact with the algae to rinse off with tap water immediately. Dogs and other animals should also not come into contact with the bacteria as it can cause extreme sickness or be fatal. 

Despite the health advisory, Hastings Lake can still be used for recreational purposes in areas where blue-green algae blooms are not visible.

Advisories are in effect until a rescind notice is issued.