No change in algal bloom

Results of toxicity tests of the blue-green algae bloom in Lake Connewarre and lower sections of the Barwon River Estuary revealed no change in conditions late last week.

The water sampling results indicate the Nodularia species of blue-green algae are still present. Toxicity tests confirmed that the Nodularia bloom is toxic.

Parks Victoria district chief ranger Siobhan Rogan said there are currently two blooms of different species occurring in the Barwon River, Nodularia and Anabaena.

“The Barwon River upstream of the tidal barrage, which is managed by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, has a freshwater blue-green algae species, Anabeana. Downstream in Lake Connewarre and the Barwon Estuary is the saline strain, Nodularia which is odourless,” Ms Rogan said.

Ms Rogan reminded people to observe the signs in areas currently affected by blue-green algae blooms and avoid direct contact.

Nodularia can cause skin irritation and respiratory or hayfever-like symptoms and produces toxins that can adversely affect liver function.

Alternative swimming sites are the Geelong foreshore, all coastal locations from Geelong around the Bellarine Peninsula, including the Ocean Grove main beach, and then west from Barwon Heads to coastal towns.

Health and safety advice is available from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DES) customer service centre on 136 186, the DSE website (www.dse.vic.gov.au) and Parks Victoria website (www.parkweb.vic.gov.au).