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Algae shuts Drakesbrook Weir

Zach RelphHarvey-Waroona Reporter

The Department of Health has echoed the Waroona Shire Council’s warning not to swim at algal bloom-affected Drakesbrook Weir.

Council officers issued a public statement earlier this month to avoid Drakesbrook Weir because of the algae, which has caused a green discolouration in the water.

Last Tuesday, the department reiterated the council’s calls saying the bloom could produce the harmful algal toxin microcystin.

Department environmental health director Jim Dodds said people were at risk of getting severe dermatitis or illness if they came in contact with the algae.

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“Recreational activities such as swimming, wading, kayaking and fishing in these waters should be avoided, particularly where algal scum or discolouration is visible,” Mr Dodds said.

“Pets and livestock should also be kept away from the water during the bloom.

“As a general rule people should avoid swimming in water that looks discoloured, murky, smells unpleasant, or has algal scum on the surface.”

The department is conducting further tests at Drakesbrook Weir, in conjunction with the Water Corporation, to determine the cause of the algae.

Waroona shire development services manager Leonard Long said the department would advise officers when it was safe for recreational water users to return to the weir.

“We’ve been given advice by the Department of Health to keep the area closed until it is deemed safe,” Mr Long said.

A no swimming warning had also been issued for Lake Navarino because of an unidentified bloom.

However, tests have confirmed the water is risk-free and recreational water users are able to return to the dam.

Mr Dodds encouraged people to report any algal bloom sightings at dams in the Peel region or South West to the department.

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