Blue-green algae Red Alert issued for Burrendong Dam

Blue-green algae Red Alert issued for Burrendong Dam

02 January 2022

A Red Alert (high alert) for blue-green algae has been issued for Burrendong Dam near Dubbo. The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. The lake is currently spilling which increases the likelihood of downstream impacts relating to the bloom.

A Red Alert indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, as well as domestic uses including showering and washing. Contact with the water may also pose a risk to livestock and pets.

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 is in place. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

Livestock owners should check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and remove stock from foreshores where surface scums are visible or blue-green algae is suspected.

People should not eat mussels or crayfish where a Red Alert is in place. 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.

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 concentrations. Regular monitoring will continue and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of blue-green 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 Alert warning areas can be obtained by visiting –

Media Contact – Angela Davies – 0467 947 426

General Contact – Dane Clarke – 0419 423 115


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