Blue-green algae Red Alert issued for Windamere Dam

Blue-green algae Red Alert issued for Windamere Dam

24 December 2019

A red alert warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Windamere Dam located in the Central West region, around 30 kilometres south-east of Mudgee.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, fishing or watercraft-based activities, as well as domestic uses including showering and washing. Contact with the water may 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 a green alert in place downstream in the Cudgegong River.

Stock and domestic users in this area are advised to avoid extraction and watering of stock in areas where scums or other signs of blue-green algae are present. WaterNSW will continue monitoring.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic. People are advised not to enter the water, not to 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 are 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.

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. This type of 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 visiting – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae or by calling 1800 999 457.

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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