Toxic algae closes swimming spot

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 05:00 18/01/2014

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A further South Canterbury swimming spot has been affected by an outbreak of toxic algae - but two others are now safe to swim at.

Community and Public Health issued warning signs after water surveys of the Pareora River at the Huts found relatively high levels of the potentially toxic dark algae phormidium. The warnings came into effect last night.

Warnings are still in place at Hakataramea River at the State Highway 82 bridge, Waihi River at Geraldine, Waihi River at Winchester. Community and Public Health has just removed the warning signs at the Temuka River at SH1 and the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge.

Environment Canterbury water quality scientist Dr David Kelly said both sites dropped below the trigger level for toxic algae.

Dr Kelly said it would continue to monitor those two sites, as they were "just as liable to change".

Phormidium appears as dark brown-black mats that become attached to rocks along riverbeds. Contact by skin or swallowing can cause rashes, skin and eye irritation, allergic reactions and gastrointestinal upset. It can be fatal to dogs.

TOXIC ALGAE

Toxic algae warnings at South Canterbury rivers.

Hakataramea River at the SH 82 bridge Waihi River at Geraldine Waihi River at Winchester.

Pareora Huts on the Pareora River.

Source: Community and Public Health.

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- The Timaru Herald

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