Blue-green algae Red Alert for Lake Wetherell, upstream from Menindee

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Lake Wetherell, upstream from Menindee

23 July 2019

A red alert level warning (high alert) for potentially toxic blue-green algae has been issued for Lake Wetherell, upstream from Menindee.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock, and pets. The dominant cyanobacteria detected are not known to be toxin producers. However, the sample does contain a portion of potentially toxic species (Raphidiopsis raciborskii), and the species composition may shift.

People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in untreated water while a red alert level warning is in place. Boiling the water will not remove algal toxins.

Lake Wetherell is located upstream from Menindee and water users should apply caution and follow the recommendation imposed by the Red Alert.

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 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 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 – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae

General inquires – Liz Symes - 02 6022 5326

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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