HALIFAX -- A risk advisory was issued on Friday, advising residents to avoid swimming in Lake Micmac due to the presence of a possible blue-green algae bloom.

The off-leash dog area of Shubie Park at Lake Micmac will is also closed to swimming until further notice.

Blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) is naturally occurring in freshwater environments and may become visible when weather conditions are calm.

The heat of the summer months allows blue-green algae to bloom and grow rapidly. Some types of blue-green algae produce toxins during blooms and when these blooms decay, the toxins may be released into the water, posing a risk to people and pets.

Tests are currently underway to determine whether the possible blue-green algae bloom at Lake Micmac is toxic.

The city is encouraging lake users to take the following precautions.

  • Avoid water contact. 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 or in areas where a risk advisory has been issued.
  • Avoid consuming water from this lake.
  • Avoid consuming fish that has come from this lake.

People who come in contact with 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. Children and immune-compromised individuals are at a higher risk. If you have these symptoms, you are advised to seek medical assistance.