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Byron Shire
March 1, 2021

Ballina sludge a mixture of blue-green algae species

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Blue-green algae in Ballina. Photo supplied.

A reader has sent Echonetdaily some photos of what he described as ‘something nasty and green coming down the Richmond River’.

The reader said he has lived in the area for almost five years – he has seen one major flood and some minor flooding and seen a lot of debris and dirty water, but had never seen anything like this.

After being contacted by Echonetdaily, Ballina Council’s Compliance Officer Kyle Bruce said that council has now had a sample of the water analysed and found that the substance is a mix of blue-green algae species.

The sample taken by council contained 75% Microcystis aeruginosa,10% Dolichospermum circinale  (formerly Anabaena circinalis), the rest a mix of various other blue-green algaes. Photo supplied.

‘The sample contained 75% Microcystis aeruginosa,10% Dolichospermum circinale  (formerly Anabaena circinalis), the rest a mix of various other blue-green algaes,’ said Mr Bruce.

‘It is likely that the presence of the algaes is due to increased nutrient levels in riverways following the recent rains, however we expect presence to decline now that waterways have been flushed out.

Mr Bruce said the algae has not been detected or reported at any swimming locations to date, as such no closures are necessary. ‘It is recommended that people avoid contact with water where blooms are visible as the algae can cause irritation to skin.

‘Pet owners should also ensure their pets do not drink water from locations where algae is present as it can be toxic to animals.’


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