Blue-green algae alert for Lake Albert

Published: 21 Dec 2017 12:25pm

Wagga Wagga City Council has issued an alert for blue-green algae in Lake Albert and advises that from today contact with water from the lake should be avoided.

Council regularly conducts water quality monitoring at Lake Albert in line with National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines.

The latest sampling results from testing conducted on Monday 18 December have found a high reading for blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) in parts of Lake Albert.

“Council advises the community that people and domestic animals should not come into contact with water from the lake,” Acting Manager Environment & City Compliance Sharomi Dayanand said.

“Pets are particularly at risk from the algae, especially dogs. Care should be taken at the moment where algae blooms can be seen, usually accompanied by a strong odour.”

The NHMRC guidelines for high levels of cyanobacteria indicate that Lake Albert is currently unsuitable for all recreational uses including swimming and boating activities.

Blue-green algae can appear as specking, suspended clumps or as algal scums which take the form of green or yellow discoloured slicks on the water surface.

Algal blooms generally occur in waters rich in nutrients, in particular phosphorus. These nutrients originate from activities within the lake catchment, particularly after periods of high temperature and/or rainfall events.

“Many factors can contribute to higher blue-green algae levels,” Ms Dayanand said. “Council staff have been closely monitoring the lake during summer and the recent dry and very hot weather would be the likely cause.”

Two tests results at a medium or lower reading are required before the high level can be downgraded. Additional samples have been sent to the laboratory and further tests will be undertaken on 2 January.

“Lake Albert is a popular recreation area, particularly at this time of year, and we will take more samples as soon as possible,” Ms Dayanand said. “We will notify the community and user groups when the readings are at a lower level.”

For more information, visit Council’s website.