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Blue-green algae red alert for Hunter River upstream of Glenbawn Dam

Blue-green algae red alert for Hunter River upstream of Glenbawn Dam

13 February 2018

A red alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Hunter River upstream of Glenbawn Dam in the Hunter region.

Low rainfall and inflows for an extended period of time in the region together with warm weather has seen favourable conditions for blue-green algae growth. Low flows have resulted in areas along the Hunter River upstream of Glenbawn Dam forming stagnant pools and lagoons causing increased blue-green algae concentrations.

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. 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.

Livestock owners are advised to routinely 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.

A red alert level warning also indicates that people should not undertake recreational 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 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 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.

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: Tony Webber

Phone: 0428 613 478

71.3
Tuesday 22 May
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1,841,964 ML
2,581,749 ML
6,351 ML
908 ML
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Tuesday 22 May