Blue-green algae Red Alert for Saltwater Creek outlet to Rainbow Beach Port Macquarie

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Saltwater Creek outlet to Rainbow Beach Port Macquarie

20 December 2019

A recreational red alert warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Saltwater Creek outlet to Rainbow Beach in Port Macquarie. Sampling by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has shown very high numbers of a range of species including one with the potential to produce toxins.

Warning signs are permanently erected in the area and Port Macquarie-Hastings Council will alert residents and visitors via their website and media. This alert does not affect local drinking water supplies, which remain safe to drink.

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 or water sports. Contact with the water may pose a threat to pets.

People are advised not to enter the water, swim or bathe in water, or drink untreated water while this red alert level warning is in place.

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.

One of the species of blue-green algae identified is potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed, and skin and eye irritations after contact.

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 by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council 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 visiting – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae or calling 1800 999 457.

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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