Bells Bay Camp Ground at Toonumbar Dam has been temporarily closed due to a blue green algae bloom and ongoing dry conditions.
Water NSW has issued a Red Alert warning (high alert) for blue-green algae after monitoring revealed high levels of the potentially toxic algae in the dam water.
A spokesperson for the Kyogle Fishing Club, which manages the Bells Bay Camp Ground, said the algal bloom coupled with dangerous fire conditions prompted the decision to temporarily close the camp grounds.
It will re-open when both the algal bloom dissipates and the fire conditions improve. For further information, go to the Bells Bay Camp Ground Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/bellsbaycampground1/
The blue green algal Red Alert means that people should not undertake recreational activities such as swimming where they may come into direct contact with the water. Nor should they shower or wash in the water. Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.
The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact. Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins.
People are advised not to enter the water, drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the dam while this red alert level warning is in place. Town water supplies remain unaffected and safe to drink.
Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.
Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scums on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water. It makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured and generally has a strong musty or earthy odour. People should not eat mussels or crayfish from Red Alert warning areas. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.
It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue, and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate. To find out the latest information on the algae bloom, call 1800 999 457 or visiting – www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae