Human-pet swimming warning issued for Greater Victoria lake over toxin concerns

The public is urged not to swim in local lakes or allow their pets to drink from the same water due to the potential toxin.

The Capital Region District (CRD) issued a statement Wednesday advising, after consultation with Island Health, of a blue-green algae bloom at Durrance Lake in Mount Work Regional Park.

“Blue-green algae produce phycotoxins,” the statement read. “Visitors are advised to avoid swimming in Durance Lake and keep animals on a leash to prevent them from drinking or swimming in the lake until the warning is lifted.”

The algae often produces a visible blue-green sheen that appears as “surface scum” on water surfaces, the CRD statement said.

“Not all blooms are easy to see, and even if you don’t see blooms, there may still be toxins in the water. Blooms are unpredictable and can happen at any time.”

These algae are known producers of toxins, CRD said.

“Ingestion of water containing these algal toxins may cause a range of symptoms, including headaches and abdominal pain in humans, and potentially fatal liver damage in dogs.”

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