Media release

Cyanobacteria suspected in Albert Town lagoon

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Suspected blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) has been sighted in the Albert Town lagoon.

The Otago Regional Council has collected a sample today, and testing is underway, with results expected by Thursday. While the laboratory results will give a fixed indication of the volume and presence of the cyanobacteria, blue-green algae has a distinctive appearance, meaning that a provisional warning is being given today, with signage also erected today at the lagoon.

Meanwhile, visitors are advised not to use the lagoon for recreational purposes, and to observe the warning signs, while dog owners are also being warned to avoid allowing their pets to swim in the lagoon.

Cyanobacteria can produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals if swallowed or through contact with skin. Exposure to cyanobacteria may cause symptoms such as skin rashes, nausea, tummy upset, and tingling and numbness around the mouth or tips of fingers.

Anyone experiencing health symptoms after contact with contaminated water should visit their doctor. Public Health South is available on (03) 4769800 to provide health professionals with information about those symptoms.

Cyanobacteria occur naturally but can increase rapidly during summer months. If the water is green or has floating bright green or blue scums, all contact should be avoided. Not all cyanobacterial blooms are visible to the naked eye and toxins can persist after the bloom has disappeared.

ORC will continue to monitor and update the public as the bloom changes.

For more information please contact

Dr Dean Olsen
Manager Resource Science
Ph 0800474082 or 027 6022737

Communications contacts

Southern District Health Board:
Moira Finn
Senior Communications Advisor
Ph 03 476 9830 or 027 836 4718

Queenstown Lakes District Council:
Michele Poole
Communications Manager
Ph 03 450 1723 or 027 839 8306

Mark Peart
Team Leader Communications – Channels
Ph 0800 474082 or 027 5312620