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Blue-green algae warning issued in Sask

Saskatchewan officials are warning livestock producers and other provincial residents of the dangers of water containing blue-green algae blooms.

They’re advising livestock producers and pet owners to keep their animals away from such water and telling the public to avoid swimming in or drinking water that’s been contaminated.

Algae blooms are heavy concentrations of blue-green algae, which often give the water a pea soup appearance, usually blue-green, bright blue, grey or tan in colour. The recent warm temperatures in the province may result in the quick formation of algal blooms.

Algal blooms commonly occur during calm, hot weather in areas of lakes and reservoirs with shallow, slow moving or still water that is rich in nutrients. The blooms can last up to three weeks and can be pushed around the lake or reservoir by the wind.

Swimming in or drinking this algae-contaminated water can cause red skin, sore throat, cramps or diarrhea. In addition, caution should be taken when considering the consumption of fish or shellfish caught in areas of a water body where a bloom exists; in particular the internal organs of the fish should not be eaten.

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