Blue-green algae Red Alert warning for Manilla River at Barraba

Blue-green algae Red Alert warning for Manilla River at Barraba

23 March 2020

A Red Alert level warning (high alert) for toxic blue-green algae has been issued for the Manilla River at Barraba. This alert is based on visual observations and WaterNSW will follow up with algae sampling.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, or domestic uses such as showering and washing. Skin and eye irritations may occur after contact with the water. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

Stock and domestic users in this stretch of the Manilla River should exercise a high level of caution, seek alternate water supplies. Park users along the Manilla River should watch their pets closely and not let them drink or enter the water. Stock and domestic users further along the river should also apply caution and inspect water sources for algae scums.

Town water supplies remain safe. People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the river while this red alert level warning is in place. Boiling the water will not remove algal toxins. if consumed without appropriate treatment, it may cause gastroenteritis and other potentially serious health conditions. People are also advised not eat fish, mussels or crayfish caught from red alert warning areas.

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. 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

General inquires - Tracy Fulford - 02 6763 3910

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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