Blue-green algae Red Alert for Chifley Dam

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Chifley Dam

08 March 2019

A Red Alert warning (high alert) has been issued for blue-green algae at Chifley Dam, located in the Central West region 20 kilometres south of Bathurst.

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.

The storage offtake is located below the surface to reduce the algae entering Campbells River below the dam. Algae sampling in Campbells River below Chifley Dam has commenced.

Algae results from the Macquarie River at the Bathurst Weir indicates that algae levels are at a No-Alert status. However, people should apply a level of caution and be on the lookout for any algae scums. If scums are present, people should not enter the water or let their pets drink form the water. Stock and domestic users should also be on the lookout for algae scums and seek alternate water supplies if algae scums do become visible.

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.

People are advised not to enter the water, drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn directly from the dam while this Red Alert level warning is in place. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins. 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 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 – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

General inquiries – Tracy Fulford – 02 6763 3910

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