Blue-green algae Red Alert for Malpas Dam

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Malpas Dam

18 February 2020

Barwon-Regional Algae Coordinating Committee (B-RACC) has issued a Red Alert (high alert) for blue-green algae warning for Malpas Dam on behalf of Armidale Regional Council. Malpas Dam is located approximately 10km South East of Guyra.

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.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis and other health problems in humans if consumed. Skin and eye irritations may occur after contact with the water. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.

Due to water treatment processes, town water supplies remain safe to drink. Presently this alert should not impact downstream users as there are no imminent releases from the storage planned.

Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.

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.

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 by Armidale Regional Council 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,

Inquires regarding the Malpas Dam should be directed the Armidale Shire Council.

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