Clarrie Hall dam.
Clarrie Hall dam.

Rain flushes algae from weir

RECENT rain has proved a double blessing for Tweed’s water supplies.

Not only have the downfalls boosted water storages for Tweed Shire Council and local farmers, they appear to have flushed toxic algae from the Bray Park weir at Murwillumbah.

As a result the blue-green algae warning previously issued for the weir has been lifted by the North Coast Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committee.

Committee spokesman Brian Dodd said tests had shown algae was at “low levels for two consecutive samples with no blue-green algae being detected”.

“The recent rainfall and flows in the Tweed River have contributed to the reduction of algae numbers from downstream of Clarrie Hall Dam to Bray Park Weir,” Mr Dodd said.

However Mr Dodd said that while the presence of blue-green algae was reduced at Bray Park, levels of algae in Clarrie Hall Dam still remained at sufficient levels to keep warning signs in place at the dam.

“Users of Clarrie Hall Dam are asked to be vigilant and avoid water where algae are visually present or water that has a strong odour,” Mr Dodd said in a prepared statement.

“Blue-green algae usually appears as green paint-like scum on the water and foreshore edges or clumps throughout the water.

“Blue-green algae makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured and is generally associated with a strong musty or earthy odour.

“There is also potential for harmful effects of blue-green algae and the community should be aware that contact with the affected water could result in skin rashes and eye and ear irritations.”

Mr Dodd repeated earlier warnings that ingesting the water could lead to diarrhoea and long term health problems.

Asthma attacks could also be brought on by contact with blue-green algae.

“People should not eat mussels or crayfish from blue-green algae alert warning areas,” he said.

“Any fish caught should be either released or cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.”

Mr Dodd said his committee would alert the public if the situation changed.

Yesterday the Clarrie Hall dam upstream of the Bray Park weir, was full to the brim with further rainfall predicted overnight.

In late September a huge bloom of toxic blue-green algae was found in the dam with another bloom spotted in the weir shortly afterwards.

But Tweed Shire Council immediately moved to reassure locals that treated town water was still safe to drink.

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