Copeton Dam water storage placed on red alert for blue-green algae after outbreak
Feb 20 2019
Copeton Dam’s water storage has received a red alert level warning for blue-green algae, prompting an urgent warning from authorities.
In a statement, released by Water NSW, people were urged not to undertake recreational activities where they may come into direct contact with the water.
Domestic use, including showering and washing, was also flagged as a no-go.
“Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets. 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 statement read.
Water NSW also informed residents that boiling the water would not remove algal toxins and advised people not to use the water while the alert was in place.
“Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink. 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.”
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.
“Any fish caught should be cleaned thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption,” the statement informed.
Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets. 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.
Water NSW spokesperson
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.
Water NSW representatives could not predict how long the algae would remain at a high level, however regular monitoring will take place and the alert should be lifted as soon as is safe to do so.
“People who believe they may have been affected by blue-green algae are advised to seek medical advice.”