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Health warning removed for algal bloom


Health warning removed for algal bloom in the Selwyn/ Waikirikiri River at Chamberlains Ford

The Community and Public Health division of the Canterbury District Health Board has lifted its algal bloom health warning issued along the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at Chamberlains Ford. This was issued on 16 March 2018.
Recent cyanobacteria surveying of the water at Chamberlains Ford has shown the coverage of potentially toxic blue-green algae (benthic cyanobacteria) in the river has decreased and is now below the levels that are of concern to public health.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, Dr Ramon Pink, says Environment Canterbury’s sampling of the Selwyn/Waikirikiri River at Chamberlains Ford will resume next summer when there is increased likelihood of cyanobacteria growth.


Facts about cyanobacteria:

• Appears as dark brown/black mats attached to rocks along the riverbed.
• The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months.
• It often has a strong musty smell and algal toxin concentrations can vary over short periods with changing environmental conditions.
• Although high river levels will remove the algal bloom, detached mats can accumulate along the shore and increase the risk of exposure to toxins.
• If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water.
• Although district or city councils may place warning signs, these may not be seen at the numerous river access points, hence the need for people/ dog-walkers to treat every low-flowing river cautiously.

For further information visit https://www.ecan.govt.nz/your-region/your-environment/water/swimming-water-quality/

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