Blue-green algae Red Alert for Chaffey Dam storage

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Chaffey Dam storage

28 February 2020

A Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Chaffey Dam located 30 km South East of Tamworth.

A Red Alert level indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming. People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the dam. The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis and other heath issues in humans if consumed. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins. Town water supplies remain safe.

Stock users should remove stock form foreshores of the storage. The Peel River downstream of the storage is on a Green Alert, however conditions can change quickly. Therefore, stock and domestic users downstream of the storage and users of the Dungowan Pipeline should monitor water supplies for algae scums and use alternate water supplies if they suspect unusual concentration of algae.

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.

A guide to the identification of algae can be found on the WaterNSW website: https://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae/identifying-algal-blooms

People should not eat fish, mussels or crayfish from red level warning areas.

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 or visiting http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae, or calling 1800 999 457.

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

General inquiries – Tracy Fulford- 02 6763 3910

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