Unseasonably warm weather brings heightened risk of algae

06 Nov 2014

SunWater is reminding visitors to dams over the coming months that warmer weather could lead to increases in blue-green algae (BGA) blooms.

SunWater Health, Safety, Environment and Quality Manager Gordon Delaney said BGA was commonly found in most large water storages across Queensland 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 to varying extents depending on climate, season and storage location," Mr Delaney said.

"As part of SunWater’s Environmental Management System, we regularly monitor BGA levels in our major storages across Queensland and advise the public of any risks through storage hazard information on 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 direct drinking purposes.

"Using untreated dam water for domestic purposes 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 catches.

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

Mr Delaney said SunWater regularly updated BGA hazard signs at all its dam sites so people visiting the dams for recreational swimming, skiing, fishing or camping were informed of any potential risks.

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

For the latest BGA hazard advisories at SunWater dams, visit the Water Storage Level section of www.sunwater.com.au or call 13 15 89.

List of current BGA levels at SunWater dams:

Far North Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Tinaroo Falls

Moderate

14 October 2014

 

North Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Burdekin Falls

Moderate

13 October 2014

Eungella

Moderate

20 October 2014

Kinchant

Moderate

20 October 2014

Peter Faust

Moderate

21 October 2014

Teemburra

Moderate

20 October 2014

 

North West Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Julius

High

21 October 2014

 

Central Queensland Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Fairbairn

Low

21 October 2014

Callide

Moderate

20 October 2014

 

Wide Bay-Burnett Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Fred Haigh

Moderate

20 October 2014

Cania

Low

8 October 2014

Paradise

Low

7 October 2014

Wuruma

Low

7 October 2014

Boondooma

Low

15 October 2014

Bjelke-Petersen

Moderate

21 October 2014

 

South West Region:

Dam BGA Status Sample Date

Beardmore

Low

21 October 2014

Coolmunda

Low

13 October 2014

Leslie

Low

20 October 2014

 

BGA status levels are an indication of the risk. For example, if the level is high, there is a higher chance that the average person will suffer some form of irritation. Moderate levels are less likely to cause problems, however a risk is still present. Low levels are unlikely to cause health problems, however some people may be more sensitive than others.

 

Media Enquiries

SunWater Media Team
Phone: +61 7 3120 0047
Email: media@sunwater.com.au

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