ABOVE: Toonumbar Dam last year. Photo: Susanna Freymark
WaterNSW has issued a red alert for high levels of potentially toxic blue-green algae for Toonumbar Dam and Iron Pot Creek immediately downstream of the dam.
This red alert warning applies only to untreated water at the dam and will remain in place until monitoring and test results confirm that the risk is sufficiently diminished.
People should avoid consuming untreated water from the dam and creek and prevent pets and livestock from drinking this water.
People should also avoid recreational activities such as swimming, water skiing, canoeing and any other activity that brings them into contact with the water until the red alert warning is lifted.
Potentially toxic blue-green algae can cause gastroenteritis if consumed, while contact can cause skin and eye irritations. Consumption of water containing algal toxins may cause liver damage and other health problems. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.
People who suspect they have been affected by blue-green algae should seek medical advice.
People should not eat mussels or crayfish from red alert warning areas. A precautionary approach to eating fish from red alert warning areas is advised. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water; the internal organs should not be eaten. Avoiding fishing during a bloom is the best way to minimise risk.
Blue-green algae is naturally occurring and can reproduce quickly in still or slow-flowing water when there is abundant sunlight and sufficient nutrients.
Updates and information about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be viewed here or call 1800 999 457.