From the Department of Sustainability and Environment
Friday, 04 January 2008
BLUE-GREEN ALGAE AFFECTING THE GIPPSLAND LAKES
A Blue-green algal bloom is currently spreading across the Gippsland Lakes under the influence of recent high temperatures and calm weather.
Chair of the Gippsland Coastal Board, Duncan Malcolm said algal blooms are not unusual on the Lakes and can be a common sight as temperatures warm up and conditions become suitable for blooms.
“The Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) is working with the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Human Services (DHS) to monitor the current situation,” Mr Malcolm said.
The algae have been detected at levels that may cause skin irritation, mild respiratory and hay-fever like symptoms upon contact.
DHS advises that contact with the water should be avoided, particularly in areas where scums and discoloured water are evident.
If contact is made, users should remove any affected clothing and wash themselves thoroughly with clean water after coming ashore. Users who experience any health effects following recreational use of the Lakes should seek medical advice.
Signs will be erected at key sites around the Lakes to advise the public not to come into contact with affected water.
Mr Malcolm said tests are being conducted on a regular and frequent basis to monitor the type of algae present.
“DSE and the EPA Gippsland Region have implemented daily testing of locations to provide the most up-to-date information on the condition of the bloom.”
A multi-agency coordination group is working to a response plan to ensure that public interests are acknowledged and appropriate testing is being undertaken.