A red alert has been issued after recent sampling of the water in Bray Park Weir has indicated an increased presence of blue-green algae.
‘This red alert has been issued to advise the community and water users upstream of Bray Park Weir to be aware of the situation,’ said North Coast Regional Algal Coordinating Committee spokesperson, Brian Dodd.
Tweed Shire Council has been running the Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) dosing system at the Water Treatment Plant for around one week to ensure the safety of the town water supply.
Mr Dodd said the dosing is effectively removing taste and odour associated with the affects of blue-green algae.
But he advised landholders that pets and stock should not be allowed to drink from the foreshores and immediately upstream of Bray Park Weir as affected stock may die.
Dogs are particularly susceptible as they ingest algae by licking their coats.
‘There is potential for harmful effects of blue-green algae and the community who use the river for recreation should be aware that contact with the affected water could result in skin rashes, and eye and ear irritations.’
‘Ingesting the water can lead to diarrhoea and long-term health problems. Asthma attacks can also be brought on by contact with blue-green algae.’
There is some evidence that small quantities of algal toxins may enter fish flesh when a bloom produces toxins. Any fish caught in water affected by a bloom should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption. People should not eat mussels, crayfish or the internal organs of fish from red-alert areas.
Mr Dodd said Tweed Shire Council was monitoring the situation very closely with regular sampling and analysis of the affected water. He asked that the public heed the warning signs erected by Council.