THE Environment Protection Authority has issued an alert for Tychonema algae in Lake Tuggeranong. As exposure to this level of Tychonema algae carries an increased health risk, the lake is closed to primary-contact recreation.
This action has been taken in accordance with the ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality following advice from ACT Health.
Primary-contact recreation means recreation that involves whole-body water contact or submersion of the head and fishing. Examples include swimming, diving, waterskiing and windsurfing.
Secondary-contact recreation such as rowing, boating and canoeing will still be permitted, however, people should not engage in secondary-contact recreation unless:
- they are experienced
- they are informed of the algae risks and what to do if contact occurs
- they do not engage in primary-contact during the recreation and
- shower facilities, with suitable water, are available for washing after the recreation.
In particular, contact with algal scum should be avoided. Clothing that has been in the water should be washed to remove any Tychonema algae residue.
Water event organisers should ensure all participants are aware of the Tychonema algae alert level, the associated exposure risks and provide adequate shower facilities. Pet owners should not allow their animals to swim in or drink the water, as Tychonema algae can make pets very ill or even result in death.
Algae levels can change quickly. Water users should look for algae warning signs which indicate the current algae alert level. Anyone concerned about possible symptoms of Tychonema algae exposure following water exposures should contact their GP.
For more information on Tychonema algae and Alert Levels go to the Environment and Planning Directorate’s website at environment.act.gov.au or contact the Environment Protection Authority through the Access Canberra Contact Centre on 13 22 81.