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Health warning for Ashley River / Rakahuri lifted

March 21, 2014

Health warning for Ashley River / Rakahuri lifted

The health warning issued last month for the Ashley River / Rakahuri at State Highway One Rangiora- Loburn Bridge has been lifted.

The Community and Public Health division of the Canterbury District Health Board has lifted its algal bloom health warning issued on February 13, 2014.

Recent water testing has shown the quantity of potentially toxic blue-green algae (benthic cyanobacteria) in the river has decreased and concentrations are now below levels of concern to public health.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the public will be informed if concentrations increase and there is a risk to public health again.

Facts about cyanobacteria:
• The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months.
• If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, avoid all contact.
• Not all cyanobacterial blooms are visible to the naked eye and toxins can persist after the blooms disappear.
• Cyanobacterial concentrations can change quickly with changing environmental conditions (e.g. wind). If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water.
• If a warning is in place, people and animals should not drink the water from the lake at any time, even boiled water.
• Exposure to an algal bloom can cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips. If you experience any of these symptoms visit your doctor immediately and please let your doctor know if you have had contact with lake water when there is a health warning in place

For further information visit http://ecan.govt.nz/services/online-services/monitoring/swimming-water-quality/Pages/river-warnings.aspx

Or contact Community and Public Health on (03) 364 1777.

ENDS

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