08/31/2015 13:50 EDT | Updated 08/31/2016 01:12 EDT

Race is on: Health officials say Edmonton lake safe for international triathlon

EDMONTON — The race is on — Alberta Health Services has declared Hawrelak Park in Edmonton safe for swimmers. 

Officials with the International Track Union's Edmonton triathlon, to be held Saturday and Sunday, say it's good news.

Last week, the swimming portion of the triathlon was put in doubt when the health agency issued a blue-green algae advisory for the lake..

However, a recent count of blue-green algae is "well below” the standard amount for recreational water events.

Workers from the City of Edmonton, the province and the University of Alberta scraped the algae off and treated the water with chlorine.

Algae blooms produce toxin that can cause rashes and potentially make people very ill if exposed to them.

“The last few days have been a little nerve-wracking, but with this news ... we couldn’t be happier,” said Rob Smyth with the City of Edmonton.

“This is a great day for YEG, for Alberta and for [the] triathlon to be able to stand here and say the team came together ... everybody had a role to play and everybody executed," said race chair Don Lowry.

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

(CTV Edmonton)


The Canadian Press