Blue-green algae Red Alert for Pindari Dam storage

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Pindari Dam storage

18 July 2019

A Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for the storage at Pindari Dam, located north of Inverell.

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

Livestock owners are reminded to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae 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 level 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.

Meanwhile, a Green Alert is in place for the Severn River below the storage, indicating that the water below the storage remains safe for stock and domestic use. However, water users should use caution and be on the lookout for algae scums. If scums become visible water should be sourced from alternate water supplies.

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 from the Regional Algal Coordinating Committee, free-call Algal Information Hotline on 1800 999 457 or visit –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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