Blue-green algae Red Alert for Richmond River at Casino

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Richmond River at Casino

14 January 2020

A recreational Red Alert warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for the Richmond River at Casino in the vicinity of Jabour Weir and the boat ramp. Sampling by Richmond Valley Council showed high levels of a potentially toxic species.

Warning signs have been installed in key recreational areas and will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present. This alert does not affect Richmond Valley Council drinking water supplies, 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, watercraft or other water-based activities. People are advised not to enter the water, swim or bathe in water, or drink untreated water drawn from the river while this red alert level warning is in place.

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

Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets. Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae. They are also advised to remove stock from foreshores and avoid extraction of water, in areas where surface scums are visible or blue-green algae are suspected.

People should not eat mussels or crayfish from Red Alert warning areas. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of appropriately before consumption.

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 Richmond Valley 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 our algae webpage or calling 1800 999 457.

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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