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Health warning lifted for Lake Okaro

The health warning issued in December for Lake Okaro has now been lifted by the Medical Officer of Health.

Results of water testing by Bay of Plenty Regional Council confirm that the algal bloom has subsided in the lake.

Despite the lifting of the warning, the public should always be cautious for signs of algal blooms if using lakes. “Algal blooms can develop rapidly and unpredictably and can sometimes produce toxins that are harmful for people as well as animals. If the water looks discoloured, has an unusual smell, or has green or brown particles suspended in it then it is best to avoid contact with it,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.

“Experience shows that Lake Okaro is prone to algal blooms at any time of the year. Lake users must exercise caution and make their own judgement about water quality by looking at the colour and clarity of the water, and whether it smells at all,” says Dr Shoemack.

“Laboratory testing of lake water by Bay of Plenty Regional Council only occurs on a weekly basis during summer months so it is important to look before you leap. If in doubt, it is best to avoid contact with the water and swim or play somewhere else,” says Dr Shoemack.

Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels:

• Phone: 0800 221 555
• Website: www.toiteora.govt.nz/health_warnings
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/toiteora
• Twitter: www.twitter.com/toiteora
• Email alerts for subscribers: www.toiteora.govt.nz/alert

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