Biological Hazard in Australia on January 21 2017 06:41 AM (UTC).
Residents have been warned to avoid coming into contact with the water in Harrington Park Lake due to toxic levels of blue-green algae. The elevated algae levels were discovered through routine testing. Warning signs have been placed around the lake advising residents of the potential risk. A Camden Council spokeswoman said it was important not to come into contact with the water. "People can avoid contact with blue-green algae by not swimming or undertaking any activity in or on Harrington Park Lake, as well as ensuring their pets do not come into contact with the water," she said. "The algae could potentially affect wildlife - it can affect animals differently depending on their species. This includes pets." Blue-green algae may cause gastroenteritis or skin and eye irritations after contact. Animals can become very sick or die as a result of drinking water affected by the algae. Dogs are particularly vulnerable as they also ingest algae by licking their coats. Blue-green algae is naturally occurring and poses no threat in low levels. It looks like green paint-like scums on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water. It makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured and generally has a strong earthy odour. "Higher levels of the algae occur in periods of favourable weather conditions when there is still or slow flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients," the spokeswoman said. "Recent warm weather has provided conditions that support the growth of blue-green algae, resulting in elevated levels. "Residents can assist in minimising potential blooms by ensuring that they pick up dog droppings, avoid over fertilising garden/lawns and ensure piles of dirt used for landscaping have adequate sediment and erosion controls." The council spokeswoman said providing residents don't drink the lake water, swim or undertake any activity on or in the lake there is no risk to their health. "Council undertakes regular sampling of a number sites across the local government area," she said. "The main lake of Harrington Park is the only site where high levels of blue-green algae were detected."