As the summer temperatures begin to warm up swimming spots, monitoring has begun to help ensure safe recreational water use for all.
Monitoring has started across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts for signs of the potentially toxic algal blooms which can affect the lakes and rivers. Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be monitoring main lakes and rivers throughout the summer, taking regular samples and checking for signs of blue-green algae (the micro-organism that causes the bloom). If significant blooms are found a health warning will be issued to the public by Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service.
Direct exposure to the blue-green algae can cause health effects such as skin rashes and stomach upsets. Hayfever and asthma may also be worsened.
With many recreational waters in the area, the sampling points are limited. Blooms can occur quite quickly in the right conditions, so it is always safest to check the water before you get in. “The Bay of Plenty and Lakes region is a big place with lots of opportunities for using the water. Look before you leap; if the water looks discoloured, smells unusual, or if there is scum on the surface of lakes or on the beds of rivers, swim or play somewhere else,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health.
If you have concerns about possible blooms, phone the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution 24/7 hotline on 0800 884 880.
Updates on health warnings can be found through these channels:
- Phone: 0800 221 555
Email alerts: www.ttophs.govt.nz/alert
Signage at locations
For more information on recreational water visit www.ttophs.govt.nz/recreational_water