Blue-green algae Red Alert for Macintyre River at Inverell

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Macintyre River at Inverell

22 January 2019

A red alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Lake Inverell and the Macintyre River downstream of Lake Inverell.

This alert is based on reports from Inverell Shire Council and by visual evidence by WaterNSW staff. Water samples have been collected for detailed identification of the algae population present in these waters.

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 uses including showering and washing. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

Park users along the Macintyre River should watch their pets closely and not let them drink or enter the water. Water users on the Macintyre below the town of Inverell should exercise a high level of caution.

The species of algae may be toxic and could cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.

People are advised not to enter the water, not to 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 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.

General inquires - Tracy Fulford - 02 6763 3910

Media Contact – Darren Hadland – 0436 661 886

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