Red alert for blue-green algae still in place at popular dam

A red alert level warning for blue-green algae remains in place for Toonumbar Dam as well as Iron Pot Creek immediately downstream of the dam, near Kyogle.

A red alert indicates 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 threat to livestock and pets.

The warning was issued by Water NSW and Kyogle Council on January 6 and remains in place.

Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scum 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.

Warning signs are positioned at key recreational areas and will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and cause taste and odour problems.

The blue-green algae may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact.

Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.

People are advised not to enter the water, drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the affected area in the dam or downstream while this Red Alert level warning is in place.

Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.

People should not eat mussels or crayfish from red alert warning areas.

Before consumption, any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of appropriately.

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 or where it may spread to.

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 and information about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained by calling 1800 999 457 or visiting the Water NSW website.

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