POLITICS

Independent tests say oily sheen on Alberta river likely from algae

07/11/2013 03:02 EDT | Updated 09/10/2013 05:12 EDT
FORT CHIPEWYAN, Alta. - Lab tests say a mysterious oily sheen that has covered a long stretch of the Athabasca River in northeastern Alberta is most likely from algae.

Consultants hired by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation say the algae bloom is probably the result of high water from record-breaking rainfall combined with unusually warm temperatures.

The scientists say dead fish floating on the river probably died as a result of oxygen starvation from the out-of-control algae growth.

The sheen was first spotted Friday night and covered more than 100 kilometres of the lower Athabasca.

Fort Chipewyan's water intake was closed, but is expected to reopen later Thursday.

Area residents say the sheen is still visible in some stretches of the river.