2019 February – Bray Park Weir (NSW) – Blue Green Algae, Taste & Odour

Smelly water safe to drink as council works to fix problem


Jan 16 2019

RESIDENTS might be shocked to smell an unpleasant odour or taste coming from their taps over the next few days, as Tweed’s water supply has been affected by blue-green algae.

The algae currently affecting the Bray Park Weir and the lack of significant rainfall in recent weeks has forced the Tweed Shire Council to release water from Clarrie Hall Dam to ensure water levels return to normal.

Bray Park Weir level drops up to 40mm further every day without rain and currently water levels sit at 230mm below the weir wall.

But council’s Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham assured residents the water is still safe to drink, despite the increasing blue-green algae.

“The smell will be most noticeable in hot water and confined spaces, such as the shower room, but remains well within the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and poses no risk to human health,” Mr Burnham said.

Anyone experiencing an unpleasant smell or taste to their drinking water is asked to contact Council on (02) 6670 2400 to assist Council to monitor the situation.

The continuing hot dry weather also has resulted in insufficient river flows to hold back a potential saltwater tidal overtopping of the weir next week.

Council will deploy the temporary concrete block barrier across the full width of the weir wall on Friday to protect against a predicted overtopping event on Tuesday and Wednesday next week, January 22 and 23 respectively.

“The predicted tide is forecast to be higher than the current water level in the weir so we will barrier off the weir wall to prevent any salt water entering the weir and contaminating our raw water supply,” Mr Burnham said.

“Once the risk passes, we will remove the temporary barrier, possibly by Friday next week.”

Tweed water supply contamination warning


Feb 5 2019

UPDATE 3.10pm

TWEED Shire Council has confirmed the region’s water supply remains safe to drink after Water NSW released an alert this morning warning residents to avoid showering and washing in water sourced from the Bray Park Weir.

Council water and wastewater manager Anthony Burnham  said treated water from the Bray Park Weir remained safe to drink despite a red alert being issued for blue-green algae.

“Council draws water from the weir for treatment at the Bray Park Water Treatment Plant before it is distributed to our water customers and treated water from the mains supply remains perfectly safe to drink,” Mr Burnham said.

“The treatment process used at the Bray Park Plant removes the potential toxins in the raw water, together with taste and odour compounds, making the treated water perfectly safe for consumption.”

The raw water, however, is not safe to drink and is potentially harmful to people, pets and stock.


TWEED Shire Council has issued a Red Alert level warning (high alert) for blue-green algae in the Bray Park Weir.

A Water NSW spokesperson said the the algae could be the result of water holes in the Tweed and Oxley Rivers upstream of the weir.

They said water users in these areas should apply a high level of caution and consider alternate water supplies for stock and domestic purposes.

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 scums have been observed in the weir and have the potential to move around in wind and currents.

A Red Alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may come into direct contact with untreated water such as swimming, as well as showering and washing.

Contact with the water may also pose a threat to pets.

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 may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact.

People are advised not to enter the water or drink untreated water while this Red Alert level warning is in place. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.

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.

It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue by Tweed Shire Council 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 1800 999 457 or visiting – https://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae