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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Lake Ainsworth open – blue-green algae alert removed

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Lake Ainsworth is open to the public after being closed by toxic blue-green algae blooms. (Supplied)

The blue-green algae bloom red alert level warning (high alert) for Lake Ainsworth that has been in place since 20 October has been removed.

‘The red alert at Lake Ainsworth on the North Coast has now been lifted as blue green algae concentrations have remained low over the past two weeks,’ said a spokesperson for Ballina Shire Council.

‘As the red alert has been lifted there are no longer any restrictions on recreational activities.’

Swimming, water sports, and consuming seafood were banned under the red alert.

Blue green algae. Photo Mark Sadowski/Flickr

Naturally occurring

The species of blue-green algae identified was potentially toxic and could have caused gastroenteritis in humans if consumed as well as potentially causing skin and eye irritations following contact.

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.

Routine monitoring remains in place to identify any potential risks to recreational users,’ said Council’s spokesperson.

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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