Blue-green algae Red Alert for Pejar Dam near Goulburn

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Pejar Dam near Goulburn

16 April 2020

A recreational Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Pejar Dam near Goulburn in southern NSW. Recent monitoring by Goulburn Mulwaree Council has shown high concentrations of potential toxin producing cyanobacteria.

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 and other water-based activities. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

Warning signs are positioned at key recreational areas around the dam and will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present.

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

Recreational fishing is not recommended due to potential contact with the water, however, 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).

Stock and domestic users downstream on the Wollondilly River are advised to avoid extraction of water or stock watering from any areas where blue-green algae are suspected.

There are two potentially toxic species of blue-green algae identified, both of which may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Asphyxia and muscle paralysis may occur in response to contact with bloom scums.

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 Goulburn Mulwaree 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 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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