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Blue-green algae warning for the Merri River

News Article Date: 
Monday, 23 November 2020

Council has received reports of algae in the Merri River near Manuka Drive.

Initial observations suggest it is likely to be blue-green algae.

The public is warned not to swim in and to avoid any direct contact with blue-green algae affected water.

Direct contact with blue-green algae can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes or itchiness; sore eyes ears and nose or if swallowed gastroenteritis, nausea or vomiting.

People who come in to contact with contaminated water should wash immediately in fresh water.

Seek medical advice if you are experiencing illness after contact with blue-green algae-affected water.

Fish harvested from blue-green algae-affected water should have gills and guts removed prior to cooking.  People should not eat whole fish, or shellfish or crustaceans collected from the Merri River, as the blue-green algae produces toxins that can concentrate in shellfish and crustaceans and accumulate in the liver and internal organs of fish. Ingesting these toxins can lead to serious illness.

Water from the affected water body should not be used for drinking, cooking or other domestic uses. Boiling the affected water will not make it safe for use.

Pet owners should prevent pets from drinking or having direct contact with contaminated water.

Visitors to the area are advised that they can still enjoy other recreational activities such as bushwalking, boating and sightseeing.

Members of the public are asked to report any potential blue-green algae blooms to Council on 5559 4800.

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