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Blue goo at Elk and Beaver lakes sparks stay-out-of-water warning

Feb 14 2012
A blue-green substance found at Elk Lake is suspected to be algae. 

A blue-green substance found at Elk Lake is suspected to be algae.

Photograph by: Dorothy Chambers, February 2012

A bright aquamarine goo that has turned up in Elk and Beaver lakes is believed to be a blue-green algae bloom and pet owners are being warned to keep their animals out of the water.

The weird water colour was first noticed Saturday afternoon near the Victoria Rowing Society boathouse by Saanich resident Dorothy Chambers who reported it to the Capital Regional District.

“It was such an unnatural aquamarine blue and it was gooey and thick,” she said.

Contact with a blue-green algae bloom is a concern for people as well as animals, said Chambers, who did some quick algae homework after her Jack Russell terrier threw up following a walk at the lake, even though he did not go in the water.

A Capital Regional District advisory, put out Monday, said the regional parks department is testing the water at Elk and Beaver lakes and will advise the public as soon as test results are known.

“Visitors are advised to avoid areas near the visible blue-green sheen, which appears as surface scum,” it says.

“Pet owners are advised to keep animals on a leash and prevent them from drinking or swimming in either lake.”

Websites on blue-green algae say it can irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system and, if contact is made, the algae should be washed off with soap and water.

Caution is advised in eating fish caught in areas where there is an algae bloom and the liver and kidneys should be avoided.

jlavoie@timescolonist.com

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