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Blue-green algae Red Alert for Darling River at Wilcannia and Darling River at Caulpaulin

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Darling River at Wilcannia and Darling River at Caulpaulin

09 March 2018

A red alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Darling River at Caulpaulin and the Darling River at Wilcannia.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may come into direct contact with the water such as swimming, as well as domestic use including showering and washing. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

This alert is applicable for areas of the Darling River at Wilcannia, near upstream of Wilcannia, and below Wilcannia extending to and beyond the site of Caulpaulin, located 50km below Wilcannia.

Park users and campers along this section of the Darling River should watch their pets closely and not let them drink or enter the water. It is recommended that alternate water supplies be provided for stock, and stock access to the river be restricted where possible, as the algae species detected is known to be potentially toxic.

People camping along the river are urged not to use the water sourced from the river. Boiling the water will not remove toxins.

The species of blue-green algae identified may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact.

People are advised not to enter the water, drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the river while this red alert level warning is in place. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

Livestock owners are reminded to 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.

People should not eat mussels or crayfish from red alert warning areas. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.

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 the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.

People who believe they may have been affected by blue-green algae are advised to seek medical advice.

Updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained by calling 1800 999 457 or visiting our algae webpage.

Contact: Tracy Fulford

Phone: 02 6763 3910

63.6
Friday 21 September
-0.8
1,642,610 ML
2,581,850 ML
11,685 ML
1,670 ML
-12,556 ML
Friday 21 September