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RED ALERT ISSUED FOR LAKE WYANGAN (NORTH) - RESTRICTED ACCESS

Griffith City Council would like to advise a Red Alert warning has been issued for the Blue-Green Algae in Lake Wyangan (North).

This Red Alert warning indicates that the water of Lake Wyangan North is unsuitable for recreational use or primary contact by domestic users and may pose a threat to livestock.

Restricted access to Lake Wyangan North means residents and visitors are advised not to enter the water to undertake recreational activities where they may come into direct contact with the water such as swimming, bathing, boating, water skiing, sailing, kayaking and fishing and are advised to avoid areas where algae is obvious.

Residents and visitors to Lake Wyangan North are further advised not to drink the untreated water or bathe in the water drawn from Lake Wyangan North. Blue-Green Algae may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and may also cause eye and skin irritations. Please note algae cannot be removed by boiling the water.

Livestock owners are advised to restrict access by removing livestock from the foreshores of Lake Wyangan North where surface scum is visible or Blue-Green Algae is suspected and domestic pets should also be kept away from the Lake, as consumption of the water may pose a threat.

Council actively monitors the water quality of Lake Wyangan North for incidence of Blue-Green Algae, undertaking rigorous sampling and monitoring in accordance with National (NHMRC 2008) and our regions Water NSW (Murrumbidgee Region) guidelines. These guidelines ensure, when Blue-Green Algae Red Alert does occur, that appropriate sampling frequency and alerting measures  are put in place, including closure of the affected water body and notification of all water users.

Council’s Lake Wyangan & Catchment Project Officer Tom Ryan said despite the biovolume reading of non-toxic algae being elevated, the biovolume of potentially toxic algae species remains very low.

“We are obliged to close the Lake as a precautionary measure to ensure the health and safety of the community,” Mr Ryan said.

Following the Griffith City Council resolution on 27 November 2018, 1200 ML of the water normally allocated to top up Lake Wyanagn North, was sold on the open market. This sale relates to the 2018/19 water licence allocation.

The proceeds will be used to undertake prioritised project objectives including the purchase of water quality monitoring equipment and other Lake maintenance tasks.

The focus of the maintenance tasks will include improving boat access, bank stabilisation, weed harvesting and boat safety improvements.

A small allocation of 300 ML from the Lake’s 2018/19 allocation was retained to enable water trials to be conducted. In the coming months additional water quality equipment will be placed on the Lake to enable Council to continuously monitor lake conditions.

A number of trials will also be conducted including aeration and water circulation to test the effectiveness of such equipment and management practices.

Griffith City Council is committed to improving the health of Lake Wyangan North and improving the recreational opportunities for the community, with the first priority to improve the water quality.

Once this has been achieved, further restoration works will be planned to improve the Lake facilities.

Regular users, such as the Griffith Boat Club and Griffith Sailing Club, have been notified of the closure.

Warning signs have been erected around Lake Wyangan North to alert users of the restricted access to the Lake. Access to the recreational land such as the picnic area however, will remain open.

Council will continue to monitor the water quality of Lake Wyangan North and provide updates to the current Red Alert through the website www.griffith.nsw.gov.au and through local media.

 

Friday December 14, 2018

 

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