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    Stormwater ponds are artificial structures that are critical components of stormwater management systems in many Canadian cities. They serve to prevent flooding of urban areas during excess rainfall. Stormwater ponds also contribute to environmental health by allowing the settlement of dirt and solids from stormwater to the bottom of the pond. As a result, the sediments of stormwater ponds can become enriched with potentially harmful contaminants. The health risks posed to anglers by contact with stormwater and sediments and consumption of fish from stormwater ponds are not well characterized. The City of Lacombe (Alberta) is a municipality with two stormwater ponds stocked with sterile fish for angling. Alberta Health collected water, sediment and fish from these two ponds over two seasons (fall 2010 and spring 2011) and analyzed the samples for a suite of contaminants. Water samples were collected from three sites at each pond and three depths for each site (n=40; nine samples plus one replicate sample per pond per season). Sediment samples were collected from the same three sites at each pond (n=12; three samples per pond per season). Fish samples (rainbow trout) were collected in fall 2010 (n=18; eight from East Pond and ten from Len Thompson Pond). For the contaminant analysis, all samples (water, sediment and fish) were tested for parent and alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Additionally, water samples were tested for routine chemicals, trace metals, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and fish muscle tissue was tested for total mercury.

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    In rural Alberta, 90 per cent of people use private well water supplies for domestic use (e.g., drinking, cooking, bathing). Domestic well water systems are not regulated by the provincial or federal governments. The Government of Alberta along with Alberta Health Services (AHS) provides water chemistry testing of private well water and information and advice on safe water for domestic purposes; however, it is the responsibility of well owners to ensure the quality and safety of their water supply. Water quality may be impacted by contamination from natural sources or human activities and cause noticeable aesthetic issues or potential health concerns. Water samples are collected and submitted by well owners through local AHS sites for analysis of routine chemistry and trace element parameters. Routine chemistry testing focuses on the suitability of the water for drinking and household use with two health-related parameters. For trace elements, testing used to be conducted only when there were health concerns or when the water was suspected to contain chemicals of concern (2001 to Sep 2018). Currently, trace element testing is completed for all samples submitted for routine analysis (if the sample volume is sufficient). The Alberta Centre for Toxicology has conducted the analyses of raw domestic well water samples since March 2004. From 2001 to Mar 2004, testing was conducted by Enviro-Test Laboratories. Limited information is available regarding the analytical methods and detection limits for this lab; therefore, users are advised to exercise caution when using the 2001 to Mar 2004 data. These datasets contain the routine chemistry results for raw well water samples collected from 2001 to 2018. Corrections may be made to the dataset over time (e.g., removal of samples deemed to be treated); users should regularly check for updates and download the most current versions. For additional information, refer to the publications on the “Related” tab of this webpage.

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    This dataset contains Local Geographic Areas Boundaries and associated aggregations. This dataset was developed to help create maps using health data. The boundaries correspond to data summaries available in Applied Research and Evaluation Services. Local Geographic Areas Boundaries and associated aggregations are available in SHP format and are viewable on the Applied Research and Evaluation Services GIS Information Hub. Please refer to the Distribution Information to view or obtain the data.

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    Cyanobacteria (also referred to as blue-green algae) are common photosynthetic bacteria that live in surface waters. Under favorable conditions, such as warm water and high nutrient content, these bacteria can form nuisance “blooms”. The presence of blooms in recreational water causes unpleasant aesthetics and exposure to some toxin-producing blooms may pose potential health risks. Contact with blooms can cause skin rashes and irritation, itchy eyes, and ear infections. Inhaling water may cause allergic-like reactions, runny noses or sore throats. Ingestion of toxins can cause a range of symptoms (e.g., hepatotoxic or neurotoxic effects, and even death). There has been increased public awareness as a result of research over the past 20 years, recent monitoring efforts, and increased public education on the topic. In 2009, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services began seasonal monitoring for cyanobacterial blooms at high use recreational beaches. In 2019, beach operators took over the sampling role from Alberta Health Services under the Alberta Safe Beach Protocol. Water is collected from shallow water adjacent to beaches and submitted to laboratories for analysis of cyanobacterial bloom indicators. These data, along with visual inspection, are used to characterize potential cyanobacterial blooms and issue recreational water use advisories when cyanobacteria are found in a waterbody at levels that can affect human health. The data presented below is organized into two files that contain supporting data and key cyanobacterial bloom indicators, and counts of individual cyanobacteria species, respectively. Each row represents a water sample collected from an Alberta beach. In the cyanobacteria species data, each water sample will have many associated rows of data. Each column represents a piece of information about that water sample (e.g., key indicators and supporting information) that is used to characterize cyanobacterial blooms. Data from the current year (2024) should be considered preliminary and might change with further quality control/quality assurance steps. This dataset is updated weekly between June and September each year. For more information on these indicators please refer to the column descriptions “Usage Considerations” associated with this dataset.