Blue-green algae spurs dam ban

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph

Pilbara explorers have been unable to cool off from their East Pilbara adventures after increased levels of blue-green algae was discovered at Ophthalmia Dam.

The Shire of East Pilbara announced last week that regular monitoring of the dam had detected increased levels of cyanobacteria — commonly referred to as blue-green algae.

An activity ban has been issued for people and pets at the dam, including the recreation zone.

This is due to the risk of dermatitis and liver damage that can be caused by the algae.

Shire acting chief executive Sian Appleton urged locals to exercise caution while visiting the area.

“Increased levels of cyano-bacteria in summer conditions are common in water bodies and continue to be monitored regularly,” she said.

“The algae causes a green discolouration and surface scum in the water, and is capable of producing microcystin, a harmful algal toxin.”

Ms Appleton said anyone who came in contact with algal scum should rinse it off with clean water and seek medical attention.

For more information on the algae and its effects contact the Shire of East Pilbara manager development services — health on 0419 311 545, or the WA Environmental Health Direct-orate on 9388 4999.

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