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Algal alerts & pollution incidents

Duchess Creek Fish Kill

Date: 6 June 2019

On Thursday 6 June 2019, council received a complaint from a resident regarding a fish kill in Duchess Creek, Bonny Hills. Council’s Environmental Health Team investigated that afternoon and the incident was subsequently reported to NSW Department of Industry & Investment (DPI Fisheries).

Low dissolved oxygen levels in the creek have been measured which is the likely cause of the event. The low dissolved oxygen level may be due to high levels of organic matter such as leaf litter decomposing, and the low flow within the creek due to recent drought conditions. DPI Fisheries will investigate further.

Over the long weekend (8 -10 June 2019), there were reports of further fish and eel deaths within the creek and in the nearby Saltwater Creek (Vinegar Creek). Council will undertake additional water sampling to monitor water quality, and have arranged for the dead fish to be removed. Council’s Water and Sewer department and Environmental Laboratory routinely monitors the water quality of Duchess Creek and Saltwater Creek (Vinegar Creek), however nothing unusual in these results has been noted.

Lake Cathie Fish Kill

Date: 31 May 2019

Council has received reports from the NSW Department of Industry & Investment (DPI Fisheries) of dead fish in the vicinity of the lower end of Lake Innes near the Drain. DPI Fisheries, as the relevant authority, have conducted an investigation and will continue to monitor the situation. The suspected cause is high water salinity and low water levels due to drought conditions currently being experienced in the region.

Council undertakes water quality monitoring in and around Lake Cathie on a monthly basis and we would like to reassure the community and visitors that there are currently no health risks with swimming or recreation in the area.

Lake Cathie Fish Kill

Date: 11 January 2019

Council has received reports from the NSW Department of Industry & Investment (DPI Fisheries) of dead fish in the vicinity of the Perch Hole, located in upper Cathie Creek. DPI Fisheries, as the relevant authority, have conducted an investigation and will continue to monitor the situation.

Council would like to reassure the community and visitors that there are currently no health risks with swimming or recreations activities in the Lake.

Council undertakes water quality monitoring on a monthly basis. Water samples taken Friday 11 January 2019,  following the reports of dead fish indicate that water quality indicators (e.g. dissolved oxygen, pH etc) show the water quality to be within acceptable tolerances for recreation and is safe to swim in.

Queen’s Lake pollution incident

Date: 13 January 2017

The 2nd round of environmental sampling showed bacteria counts to have reduced to acceptable levels for recreational waters and as such warning signs were removed on Thursday 12 January 2017.  A 3rd round of sampling also showed low counts. 

For more information please refer to the latest media release.

Camden Haven River, Googly's Lagoon & Hastings River near Settlement Point

Date: 13 February 2015

Water testing conducted this week at the above mentioned locations has confirmed some of the algae found is a marine blue green algae called Trichodesmium; it is commonly known as sea sawdust. This form of algae has the potential to cause skin irritations, nausea and ear infections if people come in contact with the water.

Algae can grow in the water of almost any river, beach, lagoon, lake or creek and can be seen as patches of unusual-coloured water.  The algae can be a range of colours, from pale browns and light greens, to dark greens and dark browns. 

Over time the algae can settle on sand or along the high water mark leaving a scum that may then decompose and become quite smelly.

Caution: people should avoid sitting or swimming in water containing algae or touching or swallowing large amounts of algal scum.  If you should experience any health effects, whatever the type of exposure, you should seek prompt medical advice.

Lake Cathie lagoon

Date: 9 January 2015

Council is currently monitoring Lake Cathie lagoon opposite the car park on Ocean Drive between the children’s playground and Lake Cathie bridge. The initial sampling indicates that blue green algae levels in the water are below current alert levels however high levels of blue green algae have been detected in the sand near the edge of the lake. The algae may cause skin irritation, but is not deemed harmful.

Council will continue to monitor this area to determine if the algae poses a health risk to people using the lake and foreshore areas.

Caution: Do not touch the green coloured sand. Rinse any skin that comes into contact with it with clean water. The green discolouration on the sand can appear and disappear on subsequent days as conditions change.

Duchess and Saltwater creeks - Rainbow Beach Bonny Hills

Date: 16 December 2014  

The current blue green algae levels in the water at the mouths of Duchess and Saltwater Creeks at Rainbow Beach, Bonny Hills are below current alert levels however high levels of blue green algae have been detected in the sand near the mouth of Saltwater Creek.  Residents and visitors are urged to use caution in this area.

Caution: Do not touch the green coloured sand. Rinse any skin that comes into contact with it with clean water. The green discolouration on the sand can appear and disappear on subsequent days as conditions change.

Duchess creek water pools - Bonny Hills

Date: 28 February 2014  

Status: Red Level Action Mode

NSW Government - algal alert bulletin

Mr David Basso, Chair of the North Coast Regional Algal Coordinating Committee (RACC), said that there was a potential health risk to people and animals due to the harmful effects of blue-green algae.

Sampling by Council has found high levels of blue-green algae, so the community are advised not to enter the creek water or allow children to play in puddles or on the sand where algae is present and advise:

  • Domestic pets should also be kept away from the area, especially dogs which are particularly susceptible as they ingest algae by licking their coats.
  • People who use the creek for recreation are also advised to avoid contact with the affected water while the red alert is in place as it could result in skin rashes, eye and ear irritations.
  • Ingesting the water can lead to diarrhoea and other long term health problems. Asthma attacks can also be brought on by contact with blue-green algae.
  • There is some evidence that small quantities of algal toxins may enter fish flesh when a bloom produces toxins. Any fish caught in water affected by a bloom should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.
  • People should not eat any shellfish or the internal organs of fish from Duchess Creek. 

 

This page was last updated on: 19 June 2019