Blue-green algal bloom at Bundaleer

Blue-green algal numbers on Bundaleer Reservoir have increased with the warmer weather and visitors have been advised contact with untreated water could be harmful.

Reservoirs SA put out a warning on Monday, advising the public to wash their hands after contact with the water, and “if you drop a line, be sure to clean fish thoroughly”.

A warning sign is also on display at the reservoir site.

SA Health information advises that algae occurs naturally in reservoirs and occasionally algal blooms can occur, especially in warmer months, although are not always visible.

It advises some blue-green algae produce toxins can be harmful to humans and animals.

Blue green algae (cyanobacteria) is photosynthetic bacteria that can be present in low numbers without causing harm but in favourable conditions, can multiply and a bloom occur.

Blooms are often seen as surface films or scums, with some blue green algae producing toxins which can be harmful to both humans and animals through contact or ingestion.

The SA Health website advises that to avoid becoming ill from blue green algae:

    avoid contact with coloured surface films or scums in fresh or marine water bodies

    if you suspect contamination of a water supply with blue green algae, do not use the suspected water for any purpose including drinking, cooking, washing or showering

  boiling the water will NOT make it safe to drink

    do not consume shellfish from a water source where blue green algae is present or suspected

    restrict pet and livestock access to any water supply containing or suspected of containing blue green algae

    do not let animals bathe in or drink contaminated water

    particular care should be taken with dogs as they can ingest very high concentrations of organisms from grooming their coat after contact

    if irrigation with water contaminated with blue green algae is unavoidable, do not use contaminated water directly on plants being grown for human consumption.

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