08/28/2015 17:57 EDT | Updated 08/28/2016 01:12 EDT

Edmonton triathlon could turn into bike and run if chlorine can't kill algae

EDMONTON — Crews will treat a lake with chlorine in an attempt to kill blue-green algae threatening the swim portion of next weekend's Edmonton International Triathlon.

Rob Smyth, the city's manager of recreation facilities, says the algae has been dragged to one side of the lake in Hawrelak Park and removed.

Smyth says the water is now being chlorinated and will be tested to gauge how well the treatment is working.

A decision on whether to keep the race a triathlon, or change it into a bike and run, is to be made before next Friday.

The event is set for Sept. 5-6.

Alberta Health Services earlier this week issued an advisory for the lake.

Visitors to the park are being advised to avoid all contact with water where algae blooms are visible. People who come in contact with the scum may experience skin irritations, sore throat, red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

"Our optimism is gradually growing here," race chairman Don Lowry said Friday during an update. "Early days, it looks good."

Blue-green algae is naturally occurring and appears like scum, grass clippings, fuzz or globs on the water's surface.

Edmonton is a regular stop for the World Triathlon Series and has held nine International Triathlon Union triathlons since 2001. The race is the last stop before the grand final in Chicago.

(CHED, The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

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