Published on July 28, 2021

Be Aware of Blue Green Algae

What is the blue green growth you see on the surface of many Alberta water bodies in the summer months? It is most likely blue green algae, which is a group of bacteria with the official name of ‘cyanobacteria.’ This type of bacteria is naturally occurring and usually starts growing during hot summer months, flourishing in extreme heat temperatures, which we have seen plenty of this summer.

Please Note: There’s currently Blue Green Algae present in the water at Lacombe Lake. The City is monitoring the situation but unfortunately it can’t be removed from the lake. Access is suspended until further notice and the dog beach gate is closed.

What can we do about the algae?

The City monitors water quality, including nutrient levels in our surface water bodies and the Sturgeon River four times every year. Visual inspections are done for blue green algae blooms as temperatures climb or if we are notified of blooms in the community. Monitoring the bacteria can be tricky as not all of it produces toxins, and there is not a reliable, long-term method for removing the blooms. The chemical treatments that are available are toxic to fish populations and are not approved for use. The most effective way to control the bacteria is to ensure nutrient levels are kept low through minimizing fertilizers that enter the water and maintaining healthy, vegetated buffers.

How can I protect myself or my kids and pets?

  • Treat all blue green algae with caution.
  • Do not drink water from lakes, rivers, stormwater facilities and reservoirs with visible blooms. In general, it is good practice to avoid drinking untreated surface water.
  • Do not swim or wade in water containing the algae.
  • Keep pets out of the water and provide alternative sources of drinking water when outside on walks.
  • If you or your pet comes into contact with the algae, be sure to bathe thoroughly.

Please note: contact with the water can affect people differently, but is still dangerous. Consumption by animals can lead to serious health issues and even death. 

If you spot a blue green algae bloom, please contact environment@stalbert.ca


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Last edited: July 28, 2021