Blue-green algae Red Alert for Fitzroy Falls Reservoir

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Fitzroy Falls Reservoir

20 March 2020

A Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Fitzroy Falls Reservoir near Moss Vale, after sampling by WaterNSW revealed high levels of blue-green algae.

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, watercraft, or any other water-based activities as well as any domestic uses including showering and washing. Contact with the water can also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

Warning signs will be positioned at key recreational areas around the reservoir by WaterNSW and will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present.
The blue-green algae identified will cause skin and eye irritations and moderate respiratory distress may occur in response to contact with bloom scums.

People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the reservoir while this Red Alert level warning is in place. Boiling the water will not remove algal toxins. Local water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

Nearby livestock owners are advised to check stock water supplies for signs of blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae is suspected.

Recreational fishing is not recommended due to potential contact with the water. If it does occur, any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of appropriately; these may contain toxins.

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. Regular monitoring by WaterNSW 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
General Enquiries – Hannah Took – 0436 653 394

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