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Town will post signs and warn homeowners about blue-green algae breakout in Solana Key
Numerous signs will be posted and city staff have gone door-to-door to warn residents to stay out of the Solana Key area of Osoyoos Lake following the confirmation that the area has toxic levels of blue-green algae.
Residents who own homes near the Solana Key area of the lake were warned last week not to swim in the area and also to keep their pets out of the water after a report commissioned by the Town of Osoyoos revealed there were dangerous levels of blue-green algae in this section of the lake.
“We’re basically looking at putting up signs to warn the public and we’ll also have staff members conducting a door-to-door campaign to let local residents know about the situation,” said the town’s chief administrative officer Barry Romanko.
There is no public access to this part of the lake, which helps the situation, said Romanko.
Solana Key is a small channel surrounded by several homes on a remote part of Osoyoos Lake. It is located on the northeastern part of the lake not far from Lakeshore Drive and Solana Key Crescent.
One of the best ways to control and get rid of blue-green algae is for cool weather to set in, said Romanko.
“The best way to change this situation is for cool fall weather to set in, which should happen soon,” he said. “We will continue to monitor the situation and will conduct more testing in a couple of weeks.”
This is not an isolated incident as blue-green algae has been detected in thousands of Canadian lakes, said Romanko.
“A lot of lakes have this … we’re fortunate in that this is a very isolated area,” he said.
Several signs warning about blue-green algae in this part of the lake should be posted some time this week or next week, he said.
A report from Larratt Aquatic Consulting showed that a sample taken from the lake on August 27 showed high levels of blue-green algae in the Solana Key area of the lake.
The test results apply only to the Solana Key area and do not apply to the rest of Osoyoos Lake.
The scientific name for blue-green algae is Anabaena, which is capable of producing skin, liver and nerve toxins.
Because the test results were so high, a public notice was issued warning of a high risk of poisoning humans and animals if water from the Solana Key area is digested.
The report recommends that residents become familiar with the appearance of a cyanobacteria scum and they avoid all contact with it and to keep their dogs and other pets away as well.
The town will closely monitor this situation in the coming weeks and will notify the public if there is a change in the current status, said Romanko.