Toxic algae found in Waituna Lagoon
Environment Southland’s latest monitoring has found low levels of toxic algae in Waituna Lagoon.
Toxic algae, or planktonic cyanobacteria (floating or suspended algae found in lakes), is different to that found in rivers during warmer months, but still produces toxins that can be harmful to people and animals if swallowed, or through contact with skin.
People and animals (dogs in particular) should avoid contact with the water, and be mindful of the potential health risks, until health warnings are removed. Medical/veterinary help should be sought immediately if suspected poisoning occurs.
These algae can increase rapidly during periods of warm weather. In lakes you may see greenish suspended globules or a greenish tinge, or you might not see anything as it can be completely invisible to the naked eye, yet still be present. If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, it is better to be cautious and totally avoid the lagoon.
Environment Southland monitors toxic algae monthly at Waituna Lagoon as well as a number of other river and lake sites across Southland.
Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for when the alert is lifted.
Go to www.es.govt.nz/toxic-algae for more information about toxic algae.