Algae at Bray Park Weir has gene capable of producing toxin

Tweed water treatment process settings right to deal with risk

Friday 16 October, 2020

Treated water from the Tweed reticulated supply remains safe to drink despite water testing today (16 October) identifying that the blue-green algal bloom in the Bray Park Weir pool has the gene capable of producing toxin.

"Council's water treatment processes are designed to remove algae and potential toxins, together with taste and odour compounds, making the treated water safe for consumption and pleasant tasting even when algal blooms occur in the raw water," Manager Water and Wastewater Operations Brie Jowett said.

The blue-green algae alert at the weir remains at amber, and there is no evidence that the algae species, which is at very low levels, has produced toxin.

Council will increase the frequency of testing the raw water in the Tweed River and at the weir, and adjust its treatment processes accordingly as required.

Meanwhile, the blue-green algae alert at Clarrie Hall Dam remains at green. Here, a different species, also with a gene capable of producing toxin, has been detected.

"Again our tests show while the species in the dam has the gene capable of producing toxin there is no evidence that it has produced toxin," Ms Jowett said.

"Council's water laboratory scientists lead the field in identifying and testing blue-green algae, so we can be confident that our treatment settings are right to handle these current algal blooms."

Council draws water from the upstream side of the weir for treatment at the Bray Park Water Treatment Plant before it is distributed to water customers.

Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients. 

Signs advising the public of the presence of blue-green algae and any potential risk have been placed at the public access points to the river near Bray Park, including Byangum Bridge.

There are also signs at the dam wall and Crams Farm advising recreational users of the dam to stay away from the water.

Blue-green algae affected water appears to have a green paint-like scum on the water, near the edges, or greenish clumps throughout the water.

Anyone who thinks they may have contacted blue-green algal water are advised to seek medical advice if symptoms appear.

For the latest, visit Council's website www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/WaterAndWastewater