Warning: Stay away from toxic river

Last updated 05:00 03/12/2013

Relevant offers

Health

Marlborough RSE workers face high rents and overcrowding if accommodation shortage not addressed Guy Williams: Rejoice, I’ve solved the problem of smoking forever! Man missing from Hamilton community home not seen for three days Waikato club rugby player likely to be disciplined after KO punch in scuffle Life support: Dr David Bowie and his magnificent 'everyday miracles' Calls for change on Government breastfeeding omission from obesity agenda Hundreds chant 'sack Compass' at hospital food protest Mystery illness blamed as man leaves his rural home Shortage of dementia beds prompts concern Pregnant woman and infant son exposed to measles at hospital emergency department

A toxin dangerous to people and animals has prompted a health warning for the Waihao River.

High levels of potentially toxic dark brown algae, also known as phormidium, have been found in the river near Bradshaw's Bridge.

Phormidium is found in rivers throughout New Zealand. Under the right flow conditions it forms thick black mats.

The algae, recently formed in the Waihao River, has started detaching and accumulating along the edge of the river.

People are warned to avoid the area and to keep animals, particularly dogs, away until the health warning has been lifted by Community and Public Health.

South Canterbury medical officer of health Dr Daniel Williams said anyone exposed to the toxin could suffer a range of symptoms.

"Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips.

"If you experience any of these symptoms visit your doctor immediately. Also let your doctor know if you've had contact with dark brown/black algal mats or water in this area."

He said no-one should drink the water from the river at any time, as boiling it would not remove the toxin. Animals exposed to the toxin should be taken to the vet immediately.

Environment Canterbury is monitoring the sites and will inform the public of any changes to the water quality.

The Waihao River, at The Black Hole, was also affected by the algae last summer, along with areas of the Opihi and Pareora rivers. Heavy rain helped reduce the toxin to safe levels.

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Comments

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should fluoride in water be the responsibility of central government?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content