Lake Ainsworth remains closed

A Red Alert level for Lake Ainsworth remains in place. Testing by Ballina Shire Council’s Environmental Health Officers from Monday 4 February 2019 indicates volumes of blue green algae have overall decreased.

However, dominate and potentially toxic microcystis aeruginosa species of blue-green algae are still present along with thick slicks and scums. Based on these results, the Red Alert remains in place and Council recommends no swimming or other primary recreational activities at the Lake.  The species of blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic and may cause gastroenteritis in humans if consumed and skin and eye irritations after contact.

People who believe they may have been affected by blue-green algae are advised to seek medical advice. Warning signs are in place at key recreational areas and these will remain in place while high levels of blue-green algae are present. 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.  

Reopening of the Lake It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue by Ballina Shire Council and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.  

Guidelines. Under these guidelines the Red Alert can only be lifted when two consecutive results are below the Red Alert level and have been recorded a week apart. Slicks and scums must also not be present for the Red Alert to be lifted. 

The algae status of Lake Ainsworth is updated weekly on Council’s website ballina.nsw.gov.au Updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained by calling NSW Water on 1800 999 457 or visiting waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae

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