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Health warning removed for algal bloom in Waipara River

14 March 2019

For immediate release

Health warning removed for algal bloom in Waipara River at Teviotdale

Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health unit has lifted its algal bloom health warning issued for the Waipara River at Teviotdale.

Recent cyanobacteria monitoring of the water at the Waipara River at Teviotdale 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.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Cheryl Brunton says Environment Canterbury’s surveying of the Waipara River has come to an end for this season but will resume next summer. It is during summer that there is an increased likelihood of cyanobacteria growth. The public are reminded that they should keep a look out for cyanobacterial mats when accessing waterways.

Facts about cyanobacteria:

It 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 Land Air Water Aotearoa or Community and Public: Recreational Water

For more information on Mahinga kai visit: Mahinga Kai

ENDS

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