Alberta Health Services issuing a boil water advisory Monday (Sept. 14) after a blue-green algae bloom was detected on the Milk River Ridge Reservoir.

Residents living near the shores of the reservoir, as well as visitors, are advised 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 (cyanobacteria) is visible.
  • Do not feed whole fish or fish trimmings from this reservoir to your pets.

As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water directly from any recreational body of water, including Milk River Ridge Reservoir, at any time.

Boiling of this water will not remove the toxins produced by blue-green algae. An alternate source of drinking water should also be provided for pets and livestock, while this advisory is active.

Blue-green algae is naturally occurring, and often becomes visible when weather conditions are calm. Appearing like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the surface of water, blue-green algae 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 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. 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.