G-MW issues algae warning

By Country News

People are being warned to avoid direct contact with water in a number of locations where blue-green algae has been found.

Waranga Basin, Lake Eppalock, the Loddon Valley Irrigation Area, West Loddon Water District, Rochester Irrigation Area and Central Goulburn Irrigation Area have all had high levels of blue-green algae detected in the past two weeks.

Goulburn-Murray Water is warning customers and the public to avoid direct contact with water in channels 7, 8 and 9 in the Rochester Irrigation Area and Central Goulburn Irrigation Area, and at Waranga Basin.

Warning signs will be placed at major recreational areas around Waranga Basin and will remain while high levels of blue-green algae are present.

But the basin will not be closed to the public, who can still sightsee and enjoy other activities that do not involve direct contact with the water.

Blue-green algae occurs naturally in water bodies but contains toxins that are harmful to humans and animals.

Signs of algae contact include skin rashes or itchiness; sore eyes, ears and nose; or nausea and vomiting if swallowed.

G-MW said water users in the affected areas should seek an alternative water supply for stock and pets.

It said people and pets should not enter the water and those who came into contact with affected water should wash affected skin immediately in clean, cold water.

G-MW also recommended affected water not be used for cooking, drinking, washing or showering.

Boiling the affected water will not make it safe for these purposes.

G-MW is continuing to monitor the situation and current blue-green algae warnings can be found at: www.g-mwater.com.au/news/bga or by phoning the G-MW blue-green algae hotline on 5826 3785.

■For more information about blue-green algae and your health, visit: health.vic.gov.au or phone NURSE-ON-CALL on 1300 606 024.