ORC reiterates Lake Waihola and Tomahawk Lagoon warnings

Press Release – Otago Regional Council

ORC is reminding the public that potentially toxic and harmful blue-green algal blooms remain in Lake Waihola and in the Tomahawk Lagoon.MEDIA RELEASE

October 31, 2013

ORC reiterates Lake Waihola and Tomahawk Lagoon warnings

ORC is reminding the public that potentially toxic and harmful blue-green algal blooms remain in Lake Waihola and in the Tomahawk Lagoon.

ORC director of environmental information and science John Threlfall said the Cawthron Institute in Nelson is analysing algal samples taken from both blooms to determine their toxicity. The results of those tests should be available in about a week, and should provide more information about just how toxic the blooms are.

Dr Threlfall reiterated that the algae has the potential to produce a series of toxins which can cause illness in people and animals.

Any reaction depends on the type of toxins present, and the concentration of the toxin in the water. The higher the concentration of toxins and the longer the contact with the water, the more severe the symptoms are likely to be.

Dr Threlfall reminded people of Public Health South’s advice last week that they should not swim in areas affected by the algae, and that other water users, including fishermen and boat users, should exercise caution.

People could continue to safely walk their dogs at both Lake Waihola and Tomahawk Lagoon, provided they kept them well away from the water.

Those who feel sick after swallowing water containing algae, should seek medical advice, and in the case of animals becoming ill, veterinary advice.

The council has put up warning signs at the locations where the algae has been found, and will continue to monitor the situation, along with Public Health South.

Information leaflets have been distributed to Lake Waihola businesses and community leaders who are getting weekly updates.
ENDS

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