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Dangerous levels of Cyanobacteria in Lake Waikapiro

Friday February 5, 2016

HAWKE'S BAY DISTRICT HEALTH BOARD MEDIA RELEASE

Lake Waikōpiro, adjacent to Lake Tūtira, has been confirmed as having dangerous levels of cyanobacteria.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) staff noticed people swimming at Lake Waikōpiro this week and decided to take water samples. Results came back yesterday showing potentially toxic cyanobacteria was present above guideline safety levels, although below the levels of the larger Lake Tūtira which was reported in mid-January and remains unsafe.

HBRC has sent samples to the Cawthron Institute in Nelson, and is waiting on results of tests to assess if toxins have been released into the water or not.

The Hawke’s Bay District Health Board has erected warning signage at Lake Waikōpiro, and Medical Officer of Health Nicholas Jones says that people should avoid any contact with the water.

“Toxic blooms can develop quickly, and skin contact can lead to skin rashes or eye irritation,” Dr Jones said. “More serious effects can occur if toxins are consumed.”

Dr Jones said people may not know that cyanobacteria and toxin can be present even when the water appears clear.

More information on Cyanobacterial algal blooms at http://www.lawa.org.nz/learn/factsheets/cyanobacteria/

6 April 2016

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