Blue-green algae Red Alert for Lake Wallace and downstream in the Coxs River

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Lake Wallace and downstream in the Coxs River

05 February 2020

A Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Lake Wallace near Lithgow and downstream in the Coxs River after sampling by Energy Australia showed high levels of potentially toxic species.

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

People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the lake while this Red Alert level warning is in place. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

Warning signs will be positioned at key recreational areas around the lake by Lithgow City Council and the lake will remain closed for recreational purposes while high levels of blue-green algae are present. Council have informed regular recreational users.

Downstream stock and domestic users are strongly advised to source alternate water supplies. Livestock owners are advised to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scums are visible or blue-green algae is suspected.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and can produce liver and nerve toxins. These may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water will not remove algal 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 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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