THE Department of Health is warning people to avoid contact with blue-green algae that has formed in Lake Moyanup (Drakesbrook Weir) in the Waroona shire.
Environmental Health director Jim Dodds said the algae could cause a green discolouration and surface scum in the water – and was capable of producing Microcystin, a harmful algal toxin.
Contact with the bloom may cause skin irritation, possibly leading to severe dermatitis, while ingestion of affected water may also cause severe illness and liver damage.
“Recreational activities such as swimming, wading, kayaking, fishing and crabbing should be avoided, particularly where algal scum or discolouration is visible,” Mr Dodds said.
“Pets and livestock should also be kept away from the water during the bloom.”
Mr Dodds said the Shire of Waroona had erected health warning signs at the main recreation area last week prior to water testing as a precautionary measure.
Anyone who comes in contact with algal scum should rinse it off with clean water and seek medical attention if they feel unwell.
“As a general rule people should avoid swimming in water that looks discoloured, murky, smells unpleasant, or has algal scum on the surface,” Mr Dodds said.
Not all waterways are monitored for algal blooms and anyone who sees or suspects one in a waterway should report it to the Department’s ALGALWATCH during office hours on 6250 8064.
The Water Corporation and the Shire of Waroona will continue to monitor the algal bloom and provide advice to the Department of Health on algal activity levels.