Media release

Cyanobacteria reported in Lake Hayes

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Regular water quality monitoring has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) scums in Lake Hayes over the weekend.

Detailed results of the testing will be available tomorrow, however the visual presence of the naturally occurring cyanobacteria scums puts the lake at warning levels.

It is recommended that people avoid contact recreation in the lake for now. Swim warning signage has been placed at the Lake this morning and the status of the Lake will be updated once the results of further tests are received on Wednesday.

As the cyanobacteria scums are wind-blown, whilst particular areas of the lake may look clear from the blue-green algae, and safe to swim in, toxins can persist after the bloom has dissipated, so people should avoid all contact with the water. 

Exposure to cyanobacteria in humans 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. Southern DHB Medical Officer of Health can be contacted on (03) 474 0999 to provide health professionals with information about those symptoms.

For dog owners, when a cyanobacteria alert is in place, it is important that dogs are kept on a lead, out of the water and that they do not consume vegetation from the water’s edge. Signs that a dog has been poisoned by toxic algae can include lethargy, muscle tremors, fast breathing, twitching, paralysis and convulsions. It is important to treat the first signs of illness as an emergency and contact your vet immediately.