Warmer weather brings heightened risk of blue green algae blooms

17 Oct 2012

As we are now approaching the summer season, SunWater is reminding the general public using dams over the coming months that warmer weather could lead to increases in blue green algae (BGA) blooms.

A SunWater spokesperson said BGA was commonly found in most large water storages across Queensland each year and the public should be aware it can pose potential health risks for people and livestock.

"BGA blooms are not uncommon at this time of year and occur in varying volumes depending on climate, season and storage location," the spokesperson said.

"As part of SunWater’s Environmental Management System, our staff regularly monitor BGA levels in our major storages across Queensland and advise the public of any risks through storage hazard signage SunWater’s website.

"There are many contaminants in addition to BGA that can find their way into water storages from various activities in the catchment, making the water unsuitable for drinking purposes.

"In addition, using untreated dam water used for domestic purposes, such as showering or bathing can cause skin rashes and other health problems.

"Eating fish and crabs caught in dams that have higher than normal BGA levels can also pose a risk and people are advised to exercise care if considering eating their fishing catch.

"Graziers are also advised that there is also a potential risk for livestock who may be grazing near water storages that contain high levels of BGA," he said.

The spokesperson said SunWater regularly updated its BGA hazard signs at all its dam sites so that people visiting for recreational swimming, skiing, fishing or camping activities are informed of any potential risks.

"The risk of encountering BGA blooms will be listed as a low, moderate or high and we ask that the public take the necessary precautions when visiting our dams," he said.

For the latest BGA hazard advisories at SunWater dams visit www.sunwater.com.au and go to Water Storage Levels or call SunWater on 131589.


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