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Extended – Algal Bloom Found in Waimana River

Extended – Algal Bloom Found in Waimana River

Environment Bay of Plenty has established that potentially toxic algae are present in the Waimana River, extending into parts of the Whakatane River. This follows the recent discovery of toxic algae on the Rangitaiki River.

Rangitaiki / Waimana Rivers
The Medical Officer of Health has issued a health warning advising against any recreational use of the Rangitaiki River from State Highway 30 at Te Teko to the river mouth at Thornton, and the Waimana River from Te Urewera National Park to Taneatua.

Until further notice, people are advised not to paddle, wade, swim, fish, or participate in any recreational activity that might involve significant contact with the algal mats or swallowing of raw river water. The health warning also includes people keeping their pets (e.g. dogs) and livestock out of the river. The use of untreated water for drinking (people and animals) is not recommended.

Whakatane River
Small amounts of the algae have been found in the Whakatane River and the public are advised to exercise caution when using the river for recreational activity and to avoid direct contact with the dark brown/black algal mats that develop in shallow areas of the river, particularly along the riverbanks.

Whakatane District Council will place warning signs at places where people would usually have access to the rivers.

Anyone suffering illness after contact with the Rangitaiki and Waimana River should seek medical assistance. Any illness in pets or livestock after contact with the river should be reported to the Medical Officer of Health.

The Whakatane District Council has consulted with the Medical Officer of Health and taken appropriate steps to manage the minimal potential risk that relates to the town’s treated drinking water supply. The Council has increased monitoring and introduced additional treatment as a precautionary measure.

Environment Bay of Plenty, Whakatane District Council, and Toi Te Ora – Public Health will be monitoring the situation. Toi Te Ora - Public Health will update the public when results from further tests are available.

Cynobacterial mats vary from golden brown to dark brown/black and may have a ‘dreadlock’ appearance in slow moving parts of the river and may come loose from the riverbed and form floating ‘rafts’.

ENDS

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