Red alert for algae outbreak at Ben Chifley Dam

FULL BLOOM: A file photo of a previous blue green algae outbreak at Ben Chifley Dam. Photo: BATHURST REGIONAL COUNCIL
FULL BLOOM: A file photo of a previous blue green algae outbreak at Ben Chifley Dam. Photo: BATHURST REGIONAL COUNCIL

A WARNING has been issued to Ben Chifley Dam users following a significant blue green algae outbreak.

Blue green algae is a naturally occurring organism commonly found in the dam but can become a hazard in bloom conditions.

Recent high temperatures across the region are believed to have contributed to the current outbreak with a red level alert now in place.

A spokesperson for Bathurst Regional Council said regular users of the dam should be aware of the dangers.

“These alert levels represent ‘bloom’ conditions,” the spokesperson said.

“The water will appear green and may have strong, musty or organically polluted odours.

“Blue-green algae may be visible as clumps or as scums.

“The blooms should be considered to be toxic to humans and animals, and the water should not be used for potable water supply (without prior treatment), stock watering, or for recreation.”

Meanwhile, the water level at the dam continues to fall as hot weather marches on across the Bathurst region.

The latest dam level, taken on Tuesday, showed Ben Chifley to be at 88.3 per cent, holding 26,000 megalitres of water in storage.

Consumption of filtered water across Bathurst in the seven days to Tuesday averaged more than 13 Olympic swimming pools each day as the worst of the summer heatwave took hold.

The average daily consumption of 33.1 megalitres was one of the highest figures on record.

Treated water returned to the Macquarie River averaged 8.1 megalitres per day.

For further information regarding blue green algae, refer to the NSW Office of Water. There is also an algae information telephone number at 1800 999 457.