Port Stephens Council reminds residents to steer clear of Ross Wallbridge Reserve and Newline Road Wetland after blue-green algae bloom

STEER CLEAR: There has been an outbreak of blue-green algae within Ross Wallbridge Reserve. Residents are advised to stay away, and keep their pets clear, of the affected bodies of water. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts
STEER CLEAR: There has been an outbreak of blue-green algae within Ross Wallbridge Reserve. Residents are advised to stay away, and keep their pets clear, of the affected bodies of water. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

A red alert remains in place at Ross Wallbridge Reserve and the Newline Road Wetland after the detection of blue-green algae two weeks ago.

Tests conducted on Tuesday revealed that toxins were within safe levels but the amount of algae remains high and the bloom has the potential to release further toxins at any time.

Based on this, Port Stephens Council said people should remain clear of the area until the bloom had cleared. 

In a statement on Thursday morning the council said it was “taking a precautionary approach by keeping the red alert in place” while it continued to monitor the bloom and water toxicity.

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Warning signs have been positioned around the waterways and will remain in place until the algae subsides and the toxin levels are safe.

The community has been reminded that they should avoid all contact with the water and follow the warning signs.

Blue-green algae may cause severe stomach upsets, nausea and skin irritation in both people and animals. If contact with eyes or skin occurs, the area should be washed with clean water as soon as possible.

NSW Health advises people who believe they may have been affected by the algae to seek medical treatment.

Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients.

The council maintains that the bloom will need to run its course without human intervention.

“All proactive courses of action have been carefully considered, but unfortunately, none are feasible as all will potentially worsen, prolong or spread the situation to other localities,” it said in the statement.

“Port Stephens Council will continue to monitor the bloom and will further advise the public as the situation changes.”

Information updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained from the Regional Algal Coordinating Committee free-call Algal Information Hotline on 1800 999 457 or visit www.water.nsw.gov.au

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