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Dangerous levels of blue-green algae found in Solana Key waters
Residents who own homes near the Solana Key area of Osoyoos Lake are being warned not to swim in the area and keep their pets out of the water as well after a report released Tuesday revealed a rare bacteria in algae tested in the area.
Barry Romanko, the town’s chief administrative officer, told members of Town of Osoyoos council that he had received an e-mail report late Tuesday afternoon about the dangerous levels of blue-green algae found in Solana Key during testing last week.
The report, provided by Heather Larratt from Larratt Aquatic Consulting (LAC). Larratt received a one-litre algae sample dated August 27 from the Town of Osoyoos on August 30. The sample was collected by dipping the bottle into the floating algae scum from Solana Key.
It was refrigerated and analyzed on September 2. The test results apply to Solana Key only and does not apply to the rest of Osoyoos Lake.
The sample contained extremely high concentrations of 80,000 – 100,000 cells/mL) of one type of cyanobacteria, which is more commonly known as blue-green algae.
The scientific name for blue-green algae is Anabaena, which is capable of producing skin, liver and nerve toxins, says the report.
Because the readings were so high, there is a high risk of poisoning humans and animals if water from the Solana Key area is digested and may result in acute sickness. The poisonous bacteria float high in the water column, but drop to deeper water as they die.
“There is no effective control for these blooms other than reducing the amount of nutrient reporting to Solana Key,” says the report. “Cooler fall weather may bring some relief.
The report recommends that residents become familiar with the appearance of a cyanobacteria scum and they avoid all contact with the cyanobacteria scum, both for themselves and for pets.
Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells urged citizens and to keep themselves and their pets out of the water in Solana Key.
The town will be releasing a more detailed press release and possible action for residents in the coming days.
The Osoyoos Times will be providing regular updates. For more information, visit our site at www.osoyoostimes.com.