Menindee Lakes system on alert for blue-green algae

Talyawalka Creek at the Menindee-Pooncarie Road crossing is still on red alert for blue-green algae, which means people should avoid consuming untreated water from this waterbody and prevent pets and livestock from drinking the water, says WaterNSW.

People should avoid swimming, water skiing, canoeing, and any other activity that brings them into contact with this waterbody until the red alert is lifted, says WaterNSW in its latest report.

There are several other sites within and around the Menindee Lakes system that are also on amber alert for the algae-like bacteria.

A red alert points to ‘bloom’ conditions, visible as clumps or as scums, and considered to be toxic to humans and animals.

The water may appear green and have strong, musty, or organically produced odours, and shouldn’t be used for drinking (without prior treatment), stock watering, or for recreation.

“Blue-green algae is naturally occurring and can reproduce quickly in still or slow-flowing water when there is abundant sunlight and sufficient nutrients,” WaterNSW reports.

“This red alert warning applies only to untreated water at the above location and will remain in place until monitoring and test results confirm that the risk is sufficiently diminished.”

Amber alerts are in place for Lake Wetherall sites 1, 2, 3, and 4, Lake Tandure, Lake Pamamaroo inlet, centre, and outlet, Copi Hollow, Lake Menindee, Cawndilla outlet, the Darling River at BHWP, the Darling River at Tolarno, Weir 32, the Darling Anabranch at the Silver City Highway crossing, as well as at Pooncarie, Burtundy, Elleslie, and Tapio.

An amber alert points to the potential for blue-green algae to rapidly multiply. With a green tinge and musty or organic odour, this water should be considered unsuitable for drinking or stock watering, but suitable for recreational use, with water users encouraged to exercise caution.

Blue-green algae that is potentially toxic may cause gastroenteritis if consumed. Coming into contact with blue-green algae can cause skin and eye irritations, while consumption of water may cause liver damage and other health irritations, with boiling water unable to remove the algal toxins. WaterNSW recommends seeking medical advice for those who suspect they’re affected.

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