Toxic algae on the rise in Hutt River

Last updated 10:48 19/12/2013
Hutt River algae
WATER HAZARD: Algae in the Hutt River.

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Toxic algae that can kill dogs and make people sick is on the rise on Hutt River.

A warning, issued this morning jointly by Greater Wellington Regional Council, Regional Public Health, and Upper Hutt City Council, warns people to keep themselves and dogs away from the algae which is now washing up on river banks at Silverstream.

''Although the cover of toxic algae is still low in the river, mats are starting to wash up onto the banks increasing the risk of dogs or humans coming into contact with them,'' Regional Council senior environmental scientist Summer Greenfield said.

Warning signs had been erected.

Toxic algae or ''cyanobacteria'' was toxic to dogs and could kill them quickly. If dogs ate the algae they should get to a vet immediately.

People who come in contact with the algae could get rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions and stomach upsets.

The algae, which has been in Hutt and other rivers in recent years, same in brown or black clumps covering river rocks or washed on to the river edge.

The risk from algae at other sites on the river was low, the council said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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