Blue-green algae alert for Lower Darling River

A HIGH alert for blue-green algae has been issued for the Lower Darling River at Burtundy and about 20km upstream to include the Jamesville block bank pool.

WaterNSW today said the red level alert may be extended downstream when more results become available, however there is no impact on town water supply.

WaterNSW takes into account water quality considerations such as blue-green algal concentrations when deciding on release rates under the current Lower Darling operations plan, which was formulated in consultation with downstream landholders.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, as well as domestic uses including showering and washing.

Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.

People have been advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the area while this red alert level warning is in place.

Livestock owners should continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.

Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scums on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water. It makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured and generally has a strong musty or earthy odour.

Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients.

It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels.

Regular monitoring will continue and anyone who believes they may have been affected by blue-green algae should seek medical advice.

Information updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained from the Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committee free-call Algal Information Hotline on 1800 999 457 or visit www.waterNSW.com.au.

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