Interior Health has issued what’s called a ‘cautionary advisory’ for the areas in light green around the perimeter of the Salmon Arm area of Shuswap Lake. Residents and visitors are asked to watch for an algae bloom and avoid contact with it. If you do contact it, rinse your body with clean water. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District map)

Interior Health has issued what’s called a ‘cautionary advisory’ for the areas in light green around the perimeter of the Salmon Arm area of Shuswap Lake. Residents and visitors are asked to watch for an algae bloom and avoid contact with it. If you do contact it, rinse your body with clean water. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District map)

Swimming discouraged in Shuswap Lake where algae bloom can be seen

Interior Health issues ‘cautionary advisory’ to avoid contact with bloom

Residents and visitors are being advised to watch for an algae bloom stretching in a band around the perimeter of Shuswap Lake from the Salmon Arm wharf to beyond Herald Park and beyond Canoe Beach.

The ‘cautionary advisory’ from Interior Health also includes Sunnybrae and the Sunnybrae Community Park. (See attached map)

A ‘cautionary advisory’ is posted when algae is present, but testing has not identified toxins, or testing has not been done/completed. With a cautionary advisory, Interior Health (IH) recommends:

• Avoid all direct contact with the bloom. If contact is made, rinse your body with clean water.

• Recreational activities, such as swimming, are discouraged in areas where the bloom is present.

• Do not consume drinking water directly from the lake. If your water intake is from the Salmon Arm portion of Shuswap Lake (i.e. Steamboat Island to Tappen Bay and Salmon Arm Wharf), consider using an alternate source for drinking water. Contact your water supplier for more information. Water from the City of Salmon Arm is considered safe as it comes from a different portion of the lake and is tested continually.

• Consider providing pets and livestock with an alternate source of drinking water.

The City of Salmon Arm, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) and the First Nations Health Authority post signs at the impacted beaches to inform or warn the public.

“More water quality samples are being collected from impacted sites this week and will be tested for the presence of microcystin, a toxin that is sometimes associated with blue-green algal blooms (also known as cyanobacteria). Microcystin can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock,” explained the Shuswap Watershed Council on its Facebook page.

IH issued its first advisory on Aug. 10, after a bloom was reported on Aug. 8; it has since been expanded.

In an Aug. 13 post, the watershed council said tested water samples showed no sign of microcystin, and more testing was scheduled for the following week. Two consecutive tests showing no sign of microcystin are required before an advisory can be rescinded.

IH reported on Aug. 17 that those tests results are not back yet.

The bloom is being monitored by the First Nations Health Authority, the City of Salmon Arm, the CSRD, BC Parks and IH.

For health-related inquiries, you’re asked to contact the Salmon Arm Health Centre at 250-833-4100.

More information on algae can be found at HealthLink BC Cyanobacteria Blooms (Blue-Green Algae) or at the Ministry of Environment’s Algae Watch website. Interior Health also offers information on beach advisories on its website.


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