Health warnings issued for lakes Ōkaro and Ohakuri
Health warnings have been issued by the local Medical Officer of Health for Lake Ōkaro and Lake Ohakuri near Rotorua due to a bloom of potentially toxic blue-green algae.
These health warnings mean that people should avoid any activity which results in contact with the water.
These algal blooms have the capacity to release toxins into the water which can cause significant ill-health to anyone who has contact with the water. The toxins can affect the nervous system causing numbness and difficulty with breathing, and also sparking asthma attacks. Contact with the water can also cause skin rashes, stomach upsets and visual problems.
Signage advising the public about the algal bloom will be erected at the location by the local council.
About toxic algal blooms
Algal blooms are naturally occurring in a range of waterways, regardless of water quality. Certain factors like temperature and the availability of nutrients can result in the growth of harmful types algae.
Algal blooms may occur rapidly and unpredictably. Therefore, it’s always best to look before you leap and avoid contact with the lake water if it:
- looks discoloured,
- has an unusual smell,
- has green or brown particles suspended in it
- has visible surface scum.
Dogs are also particularly at risk of serious illness if they consume or have contact with toxic algae. They should be kept away from the water if it looks like there may be a bloom. They may also eat algal mats that accumulate in and around rivers.
- Toxic algae: www.toiteora.govt.nz/public/recreational-water
- List of up-to-date health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts: www.toiteora.govt.nz/health-warnings
- Water quality information – www.lawa.org.nz/swim
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