Blue-green algae can be a serious environmental and human health problem with the release of toxins and skin irritants.
The management of algal blooms in recreational waterways is shared by all levels of government with each organisation playing a role in accordance with The NSW Algal Management Strategy. The NSW Office of Water oversees the algal risk management framework for fresh and marine waters which aims at minimising the impact of harmful algal blooms in water bodies in NSW and Local water-body management authorities such as Dungog Council are responsible for the appropriate notification of alerts, primarily through the issuing of media releases and erection of appropriate signage to identify algal blooms.
Council receives algae alert reports from The Office of Water on a weekly basis and responds in accordance with the NSW Algal Management Strategy.
A red alert level means that algae numbers are in the high range and are a potential health threat and people should avoid contact with the water whilst the bloom remains. Domestic pets and livestock should also be prevented from coming into contact with the water during a Red Alert.
How Can I Find if a Waterway has been Affected by Harmful Algae?
The public are encouraged to utilise WaterNSW's online tool to be informed of possible blue-green algae alerts in New South Wales waterways.
WaterNSW’s website features an interactive state map that publishes regular updates for blue-green algae at popular recreational sites. For residents and those planning holidays, state-wide algae alerts and contact details can be found on the WaterNSW website.(link is external)
Individuals and families should be aware of any current algal alerts before swimming in lakes, dams, rivers and the beach. Holiday-makers in particular should check the WaterNSW website to be certain their intended destination is suitable for water recreation.
WaterNSW, in conjunction with Council and Hunter Water, conducts routine monitoring of the water quality of Dungog Shires Rivers in select locations.
Blue-green algal blooms usually occur due to unseasonably hot weather, sporadic rainfall and low flows in our rivers . Waterway users should check for warning signage in the vicinity if they are unsure about the status of the waterway