Algal Bloom Health Warning Issued for Pegasus Lake

Published: 13-Feb-2018

Unfortunately, Lake Pegasus is now off-limits for swimming, after the Canterbury District Health Board today issued a public health warning following the discovery of potentially toxic blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) in the water.

Unfortunately, Lake Pegasus is now off-limits for swimming, after the Canterbury District Health Board today issued a public health warning following the discovery of potentially toxic blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) in the water. 20180213 - Pegasus Lake

Warning signs have been put in place around the lake notifying passers-by of the health danger posed by the water.

While the lake has been impacted on by algal bloom in the past, it had enjoyed a clean bill of health this summer, up until today’s warning notice.

Lake Pegasus joins the area surrounding the Rangiora-Loburn Bridge across the Ashley/Rakahuri River as being off-limits for swimming due to algal-bloom related health warnings.

The latter was the subject of its second health warning of the summer yesterday.

People and animals, particularly children and dogs, should avoid contact with Lake Pegasus until the warning has been lifted.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the algal bloom can produce neurotoxins harmful to humans and animals.

“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips. If you experience any of these symptoms visit your doctor immediately and please let your doctor know if you have had contact with the lake water,” Dr Humphrey says.

“No one should drink the water from the lake at any time,” Dr Humphrey says. “Boiling the water does not remove the toxin.”

The bloom will be monitored on a weekly basis and the public will be advised of any changes to its status.

Facts about cyanobacteria:

 

  • The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months.
  • If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, avoid all contact.
  • Not all cyanobacterial blooms are visible to the naked eye and toxins can persist after the blooms disappear.
  • Cyanobacterial concentrations can change quickly with changing environmental conditions (e.g. wind). If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water.

For further information visit https://www.ecan.govt.nz/your-region/your-environment/water/swimming-water-quality/

Name: Matt McIlraith

Phone: 0800 965 468