Blue-green algae red alert warning for Windamere Dam
The Central West Regional Algal Coordinating Committee has today issued a red level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae in Windamere Dam.
Monitoring by the NSW Office of Water has detected high numbers of potentially toxic blue-green algae at Windamere Dam.
Red level warning indicates that waters are unsuitable for recreational use or primary contact by domestic users and may also pose a threat to livestock.
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. Boiling the water does not inactivate algal toxins.
Algal blooms can develop in a 24 hour period and can spread rapidly in a water body.
Existing blooms are also subject to prevailing winds and can be moved about over wide areas in a short time.
Local residents and visitors should avoid any water that appears bright green, where obvious green scums are present, or a distinctive odour is noticeable. Blue-green algae are usually very obvious, appearing as clumps or specs in the water and are often associated with a strong musty or earthy odour.
People are advised not to enter the water, and are further advised not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the water source whilst a red level warning is in place.
Landholders are advised to remove stock from the water foreshores as blue-green algae are known to cause stock illness or even death. Dogs are particularly susceptible as they ingest algae by licking their coats.
There is some evidence that small quantities of algal toxins may enter fish flesh when a bloom produces toxins. Any fish caught in water affected by a bloom should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.
People should not eat mussels, crayfish or the internal organs of fish from red alert areas.
Toxins might also taint fish flesh and when a bloom is toxic finfish should not be eaten.
This red level warning will remain in place until such time as the Central West Regional Algal Coordinating Committee advises that it has been lifted. The Office of Water and Water NSW will continue routine water quality monitoring of Windamere Dam.
Information updates about blue-green algae blooms and Red Level Warning areas can be obtained from the Regional Algal Coordinating Committee freecall Algal Information Hotline
on 1800 999 457 or visit - www.water.nsw.gov.au