WHILE Bathurst Regional Council will continue to monitor water quality at Chifley Dam, it has stressed that a proven link between blue green algae and a fatal disease has not been proven.
Concerns for the potential link were raised by retired general practitioner Dr Jim Blackwood, who took his concerns to council's public forum last week.
Coming from a palliative care background, Dr Blackwood has a lot of experience with death and said that motor neurone disease (MND) was a "ghastly" way to die.
MND, which has no cure, strips people of their ability to move, breathe and swallow, while their brain remains active.
There is growing evidence to suggest that a "major contributor" to developing the disease could be two toxins sometimes present in blue green algae: BMAA and DAB.
As Chifley Dam continues to have outbreaks of blue green algae, Dr Blackwood feels council needs to test for the specific toxins to ensure residents are kept as safe as possible.
"Council presently monitors for algal numbers, but not for the toxins BMAA or DAB. Algal numbers are not necessarily an indication of the amount of toxins present," he told council.
"The Principle of Prudence dictates that, where a potential consequence is great, every effort must be made to ensure this does not occur."
Council's manager of Water and Waste, Russell Deans, said that council was aware of theories about a potential link, implying that there were known of prior to Dr Blackwood's address.
"Council is aware that there are many theories about the causes of MND, including environmental factors," he said.
"Ongoing research around the world is looking for causes, however a potential link between blue green algae and motor neurone disease has yet to be proven."
Water from Chifley Dam is regularly tested, but not for the toxins highlighted by Dr Blackwood.
Mr Deans said that council carries out testing for water quality at both Chifley Dam and throughout the water filtration plant process.
"These tests are carried out in accordance with the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines and the Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water," he said.
"These are issued by the Australian Government's National Health and Medical Research Council."
Mr Deans said council will continue to test the water and take action if necessary. He assured that Bathurst's drinking water was safe.
Dr Blackwood has said that there wasn't concern about the drinking water, as it goes through filtration, but anyone exposed to the water at the dam regularly could be at risk if a link is proven.