Bednesti, Nulki, and West Lakes: swimming with algae not advised

A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom has been identified in areas of Bednesti/Berman, Nulki and West Lakes.

A view of Nulki Lake with Bearhead Mountain on the horizon.

A view of Nulki Lake with Bearhead Mountain on the horizon.

A blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) bloom has been identified in areas of Bednesti/Berman, Nulki and West Lakes. Blue-green algae are naturally occurring and appear 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 smells musty or grassy.

Residents living near the shores of these lakes, as well as visitors to these lakes, are advised to take the following precautions:

Avoid all contact will 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 is visible.

You can safely consume fish fillets from this lake, but should limit your consumption of whole fish and trimmings as fish may store toxins in organs such as the brain, liver and intestines. Pets should avoid eating whole fish and trimmings.

As always, visitors and residents are reminded to never drink or cook with untreated water taken directly from any lake at any time. Boiling lake 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.

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.

Weather and wind conditions can cause algae blooms to move from one location in the lake to another. As such, this advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

If you suspect a problem related to blue-green algae or if you require further information on health concerns, please call Environmental Health at 250-565-2150.

Additional information is also available at http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthfiles/hfile47.stm