Algae alert for local waterways
Blue-green algae has reached high levels in three Maitland waterways.
Maitland City Council has issued a warning after testing this week found that levels of the microscopic cells have increased in Rathluba Lagoon. Levels at Telarah Lagoon and Walka Water Works were previously declared to be high and have not changed.
Although it occurs naturally, current high temperatures, low dam levels and high nutrient levels encourage the growth of blue-green algae.
With these conditions all dams and waterways have the potential to have algal blooms grow overnight and caution should be undertaken entering waterbodies.
“Blue-green algae can be a serious environmental and human health problem, with the release of toxins and skin irritants,” Council’s Development and Environment manager David Simm said.
“Caution should be used at any waterbody, particularly dams, as algal levels can increase quickly in favourable growing conditions.
“Once a bloom has developed, there isn’t a great deal authorities can do to reverse the situation except wait for a climatic change.”
Blue-green algae may cause severe stomach upsets, nausea and skin irritation in both people and animals. If people believe they or their animals have been affected by blue-green algae they should seek medical attention .
Suspected blue-green algal blooms in local waterways can be reported by emailing RACC@waternsw.com.au with details and any available photos of the suspected bloom. Up to date information on current algal blooms is available by phoning 1800 999 457.