CRD warns against going in the water at Elk Lake beach

People are being warned to stay out of the water at Hamsterly Beach on Elk Lake.

The Capital Regional District said water testing has revealed bacteriological counts above acceptable limits at the beach.

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“A beach advisory indicates the water may be unsafe for swimming and recreational activities,” the district said in a statement. “As a precautionary measure, it is not recommended for people or pets to enter the water.”

Jennifer Blaney, manager of CRD Water Quality, said the issue is likely linked to animal activity in the lake.

“It’s a natural occurrence in any type of lake where you would have animals such as geese,” she said.

“It’s quite common for recreational beaches to have exceedances from time to time.”

The CRD is posting signs at the lake and will continue testing the water.

The latest warning comes just a week after the CRD advised people to avoid swimming at Beaver Lake after the water tested positive for blue-green algae that produces cyanotoxins.

Visitors were reminded to keep pets on a leash and prevent them from swimming in the lake or drinking the water.

“The algae usually produce a visible blue-green sheen, which appears as surface scum,” the district said. “Not all blooms are easy to see and toxins can still be present in the water even if you cannot see the blooms.”

The drinking of water containing cyanotoxins can cause headaches and abdominal pain in humans, and lead to lethal liver damage in dogs, the district said.

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