Swimmers urged to continue to avoid Fountain Lake because of algae bloom

Published 7:36 pm Wednesday, August 9, 2023

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The city of Albert Lea is continuing to ask the public to avoid swimming in Fountain Lake until a potentially harmful algae bloom dissipates.

The city posted on its Facebook page Wednesday that people should also keep pets out of the water.

Blue-green algae is normally present in bodies of water in Minnesota and thrives in warm, nutrient-rich water, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. With high temperatures and heavy sun, the blue-green algae can form blooms that can produce toxins linked to illness in humans and animals.

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The agency states blue-green algal blooms are often described as looking like pea soup or spilled green paint. They can also produce a swampy odor when the cells break down.

The highest risk occurs if drinking the water, either incidentally or intentionally, and through water activities such as swimming, diving, water skiiing, wind surfing, tubing and paddle boarding.

People should avoid recreating in waters that have a blue-green algae bloom, and if you do come in contact with it, you should wash with fresh water afterward.

A moderate level of risk exists for activities such as canoeing, kayaking or sailing, and there is a low risk for activities such as fishing, boating and fish consumption.

Human and animal illnesses that may be due to harmful algae blooms should be reported to the Minnesota Department of Health Foodborne and Waterborne Illness Hotline at 1-877-366-3455.