Blue-green algae lower Murray River extended to include Wentworth Weir

Blue-green algae lower Murray River extended to include Wentworth Weir

12 February 2021

The red alert level warning (high alert) issued for the lower Murray River has been extended due to the occurrence of dense and persistent surface scums that have been observed over the past few days at Wentworth. The high-level warning remains current for Colignan to Merbein and now includes the downstream section of the river to Wentworth Weir.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock, and pets.

People should not eat mussels or crayfish from Red Alert warning areas. A precautionary approach should be applied to fishing during bloom events. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. Fish fillet meals from algal bloom affected areas should be limited to 1-2 servings per week. Avoiding fishing in a bloom location is the best way to minimise risk, particularly catching and eating fish from locations with severe blooms that last extended periods of time.

Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scums on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water. The water can appear dirty, green or discoloured and a strong musty or earthy odour may be detected.

Potentially harmful algal blooms tend to occur when there are warm water temperatures and sunny days, low turbidity and calm water conditions where water may stratify. 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 calling 1800 999 457 or visiting – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae

General inquires – Elizabeth Symes – 0439 199 077

Media Contact – Ben Ansell – 0436 942 946

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