Media Release - 23/12/08
Due to increased levels of algal bloom and associated toxins, Te Wairewa/Lake Forsyth water has been declared unsafe for drinking/swallowing or recreational use.
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey said that until further notice consistently high levels of algal bloom mean the lake is unsuitable for recreational use or drinking.
Swallowing the water can be fatal to animals, including dogs, sheep, cattle, fish and birds. “Anyone using the Little River Rail Trail or nearby recreational areas should not drink the lake water as it is also unsafe for humans,” Dr Humphrey said.
People swimming or bathing in water with blue-green algal bloom have been known to develop adverse reactions. These have included allergic reactions, asthma, eye irritations, rashes and blistering around the mouth and nose, gastrointestinal disorders, (abdominal pain, cramps, diarrhoea). Recreational lake users, including duck shooters, fishermen and boat users, should exercise caution in relation to their contact with the lake water.
People should not eat shellfish from the lake as algal bloom increases toxin levels in shellfish, which are potentially harmful to health
Warning signs advising people of these risks will be placed around the lake by Canterbury District Health Board’s Community and Public Health division.
For further information or medical advice talk to your doctor, or in the case of animals, a veterinarian.