Blue-green algae Red Alert for Harrington Park Lake in Harrington Park

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Harrington Park Lake in Harrington Park

10 March 2020

A recreational Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Harrington Park Lake in Harrington Park near Camden, south of Sydney. Sampling by Camden Council has shown high numbers of a potentially toxic species and lower numbers of a second potentially toxic species.

Warning signs will be installed in key locations and will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present. Camden Council are notifying nearby residents and will continue regular monitoring. This alert does not affect drinking water supplies in the area 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, fishing or watercraft-based activities. Water should not be used for any domestic purposes such as washing or showering, and any contact or ingestion may pose a threat to pets.

Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient nutrient levels. 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.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove the toxins.

People should not eat mussels or crayfish from Red Alert warning areas. Fishing is not recommended however if it occurs any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of appropriately before consumption.

It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. 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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