A red alert has been issued by the North Coast Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committee for blue-green algae on Clarrie Hall Dam, in conjunction with Tweed Shire Council.
Council’s Manager Water Anthony Burnham said residents and visitors should avoid all contact with water at Clarrie Hall Dam when it is under a red alert.
“Routine sampling by council has detected high levels of blue green algae in the dam and we wish to advise landholders in the Doon Doon Creek catchment area to avoid contact with the affected water,” Mr Burnham said.
“People who use Clarrie Hall Dam for recreational and farming purposes need to be aware of this situation.”
Warning signs have been erected around Clarrie Hall Dam and will remain in place until the bloom subsides.
Contact with affected water could lead to skin rashes, eye and ear irritations, while ingesting the water can also cause diarrhoea, asthma and long-term health problems.
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 is suspected.
No mussels or crayfish from red alert warning areas should be consumed. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before eating.
Mr Burnham said there was no immediate threat to the Tweed’s water supply.
“The blue-green algae breakout is confined within the dam and as we’re not releasing from the dam at the moment, there’s no immediate threat to the Tweed’s water supply and drinking water,” he said.
“However, due to low flows in the river, releases from the dam will potentially need to occur in the next week or so. At that time we will select the best-quality water from the dam following testing at different depths in the top 20 metres.
“It’s an indication of how dry it has been as this is the first time we’ve had look at releasing water from Clarrie Hall Dam in over two years, apart from during a minor flood event.”
Water samples are being taken at the dam on a daily basis to monitor the blue-green algae situation.
“If releases from the dam are required, council will also increase monitoring at the extraction point at Bray Park Weir to ensure the high standard of Tweed’s drinking water is maintained,” Mr Burnham said.
For more information on the algal alert, call the NSW Government’s toll-free algal information line on 1800 999 457, visit the website www.dwe.nsw.gov.au or call Tweed Shire Council on (02) 6670 2400.