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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Blue-green algae red alert for Lake Ainsworth

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Ballina Shire Council says the red alert for toxic blue-green algae at Lake Ainsworth is in place. Photo Ballina Shire Council

Lake Ainsworth is currently experiencing a blue-green algae bloom and Ballina Shire Council has issued a Red Alert level warning (high alert).

No swimming or seafood

Swimming, water sports and consuming seafood should not be undertaken and any activity that involved coming into direct contact with the water should be avoided. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to pets.

The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations following contact. People are advised not to enter the water while this Red Alert level warning is in place.

Warning signs are positioned at key recreational areas and will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present.

Blue green algae. Photo Mark Sadowski/Flickr

Naturally occurring

Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scums 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 scums may occur in the lake and have the potential to move around in wind and currents.

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 by Ballina Shire Council and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of blue green algae dissipate.

People who believe they may have been affected by blue-green algae are advised to seek medical advice.

Updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained visiting Water NSW or by calling 1800 999 457.


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