SOUTHERN Rural Water has issued a blue green algae warning for Macalister Irrigation District channels and in the Macalister River in Maffra.
Irrigators are encouraged to take extra care to avoid spray drift, the pooling of water and inhaling contaminated water. Potentially contaminated water should not be sprayed onto leafy vegetables, florets or allowed to flood pastures.
Farmers are encouraged to prevent stock access to potentially contaminated water, and to monitor farm dams for signs of BGA contamination.
Agriculture Victoria has a number of publications which can assist farmers deal with a BGA bloom in dams.
Warning signs advising people not to swim, fish or come in contact with the water have been erected at the Port of Maffra boat launching area, and boating is not recommended.
Blue Green Algae can be dangerous to humans and animals. It can cause skin rashes or itchiness, sore eyes, ears and noses, or if swallowed, gastroenteritis, nausea or vomiting. People who come into direct contact with contaminated water should wash immediately in fresh water.
Untreated water from the Macalister River at the Port of Maffra should not be used for drinking, cooking or other domestic uses. Boiling the affected water will not make it safe for use.
Gippsland Water has confirmed that the drinking water it supplies to Maffra and surrounding towns is unaffected, with treatment processes removing any algae so that the water from your tap is safe to drink.
Pet owners should also prevent pets from drinking or having direct contact with contaminated untreated water.
Those experiencing a health issue they think is related to contact with water contaminated by BGA should seek medical advice immediately.
Southern Rural Water will continue to monitor the situation and will update warnings when the bloom is below trigger levels. However, BGA blooms can come and go quickly, and everyone is encouraged to take care and not contact the water if they believe BGA is present.
Members of the public have been asked to report any potential outbreaks of BGA to SRW on 1300 139 510.