A suspected algae blooms has been spotted near the shore of Lake Banook.

The Halifax Regional Municipality says the type of blooms has not been confirmed, but they resemble blue-green algae, which can be harmful when ingested.

“One of the suspected algae blooms is just west of the Paddler’s Cove facility at 300 Prince Albert Road,” said a news release from the city. “There may also be a second bloom located further west along the same stretch of shoreline, closer to the intersection of Prince Albert Road and Sinclair Street.”

The city says staff are testing the water to find out what toxins might be present and will release the results once they are known. Until more is known, the city is cautioning people to avoid swimming in the area and to not let pets go in the water anywhere they see surface scum and/or discoloured water, either of which could be a blue-green algae bloom.

“Algae are microscopic aquatic plants that naturally live in freshwater and saline environments. These organisms can multiply rapidly during the summer, leading to extensive growth called a bloom,” the release said. “Some types of 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. The toxins can cause skin, eye, and throat irritation, and in serious cases where the toxins are consumed, can cause gastrointestinal illness. Children and immune-compromised individuals are at a higher risk for the more severe effects.”

To learn more about algae blooms, visit https://www.halifax.ca/about-halifax/energy-environment/harmful-algae-blooms.