A RED alert has been issued for blue-green algal at Raymond Terrace’s Newline Road Wetland near Beaton Avenue and Ross Walbridge Reserve near William Baily Street, due to a bloom of potentially toxic blue-green algae Microcystis spp.
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Port Stephens Council said a red alert level warning indicates that people should avoid all contact with the water.
According to Council, contact with the water may also pose a threat to animals, with residents urged to keep pets away from the bloom.
Animals can become very sick as a result of drinking water affected by blue green algae.
Warning signs will be positioned around the lake and remain until the algae subsides.
Blue-green algae may cause severe stomach upsets, nausea and skin irritation in both people and animals. If contact with eyes or skin occurs, the area should be washed with clean water as soon as possible.
NSW Health advises people who believe they may have been affected by the algae to seek medical treatment.
Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scum 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 occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients.
It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.
Port Stephens Council say they will continue to monitor the bloom and will further advise the public as the situation changes.
Information updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained from the Regional Algal Coordinating Committee free-call Algal Information Hotline on 1800 999 457 or visit – www.water.nsw.gov.au