A RED alert for potentially toxic blue-green algae in the Richmond River at the Jabour Weir Casino and upstream has been issued, with a warning for locals not to come into contact with the water.
The town water supply is fully treated and safe to drink.
Residents and visitors are advised not to enter the water to undertake recreational activities where they may come into contact with the water, such as swimming, bathing, boating, water skiing, sailing, kayaking and fishing.
Domestic pets should also be kept away from the area, especially dogs which are particularly susceptible as they can ingest algae by licking their coats.
Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.
Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for signs of blue-green algae and to remove stock from waterways where surface scum is visible or where blue-green algae are suspected, as blue-green algae are known to cause stock illness or even death.
If water is ingested, or individuals come in contact with the water at red alert levels, there is risk to health and it is advised to seek medical attention. Children and people with pre-existing health problems are most at risk.
People might also experience diarrhoea, skin, eye and ear irritations and other long term health problems. Asthma attacks can also be brought on by contact with blue-green algae.
Warning signs had been erected at a number of locations due to the high risk to recreational use, including fishing and swimming which could lead to primary contact with the water.
Council will continue to regularly sample and test the water.
For more information on algal alerts currently in place, please call the NSW Government’s toll free algal information line on 1800 999 457 or visit water NSW website https://www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae.
To report algal blooms email RACC@waternsw.com.au.