Blue-green algae Red Alert for Macintyre River at Inverell

Blue-green algae Red Alert for Macintyre River at Inverell

22 January 2021

A red alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Lake Inverell and for the Macintyre River extending to approximately 20km upstream and 50km downstream of Inverell.

A red alert level warning indicates that people should not enter the water, not drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the river where they may be coming into direct contact. This includes activities such as swimming and domestic uses including showering and washing while this red alert level warning is in place. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.

Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

Stock and domestic water users on the Macintyre River in the area covered by this alert are advised exercise a high level of caution and use alternate water supplies. Park users along the Macintyre River should watch their pets closely and not let them drink or enter the water.

The species of algae may be toxic and could cause gastroenteritis and other health problems in humans if consumed, as well as skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.

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 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 before consumption.

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 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 visiting – http://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae

General inquires - Tracy Fulford - 02 6763 3910

Media Contact – Tony Webber – 0428 613 478

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