Blue-green algae Red Alert for Windamere Dam

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Windamere Dam

28 May 2019

A Red Alert warning (high alert) for blue-green algae at Windamere Dam located in the Central West region 30 kilometres south-east of Mudgee.

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 is fitted with a variable level off-take and algae concentrations detected below the dam indicate that there is no alert in place downstream of the storage.

However, due to the high algae concentrations detected in the storage, it is advised that stock and domestic users be on the lookout for algae scums and seek alternate supplies if needed. WaterNSW is continuing to monitor the situation.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic. 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. Algae may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

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.

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. 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.

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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