Lake health warn­ing still in place

North Waikato News - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

While a health warn­ing for Waipa’s Lake Ngaroto has been lifted, Lake Waikare is still deemed as too toxic.

The health warn­ing for Lake Ngaroto was is­sued in June af­ter two con­sec­u­tive tests showed cyanobac­te­rial lev­els to be once again below the warn­ing level.

How­ever Lake Waikare con­tin­ues to have a cyanobac­te­rial health warn­ing in place.

Waikato DHB med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Dr Richard Wall rec­om­mended that dur­ing blooms, like at Waikare, ar­eas should not be used for any ac­tiv­ity that in­volves skin con­tact with the af­fected wa­ter.

‘‘Scums are a par­tic­u­lar risk be­cause they con­tain a high level of tox­ins. If con­tact with scum does oc­cur, skin should be rinsed clean and cloth­ing changed as soon as pos­si­ble. This warn­ing is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for chil­dren,’’ Wall said.

He said if peo­ple still choose to use the lakes when warn­ings are in place, they should shower and change cloth­ing as soon as pos­si­ble.

Symp­toms in­clude rash, skin and eye ir­ri­ta­tion; al­lergy symp­toms such as hayfever and asthma; and pos­si­bly stom­ach up­sets in­clud­ing di­ar­rhoea and vom­it­ing.

They may not ap­pear un­til some time af­ter con­tact with the af­fected wa­ter. Long-term ex­po­sure to cyanobac­te­rial tox­ins may cause ad­di­tional health risks.

Lake Waikare has been found to have a cyanobac­te­ria bio­vol­ume of 5.1 mm3/L. Bio­vol­ume is the mea­sure used to de­cide when a health warn­ing should be is­sued, with the cut­off value for a health warn­ing set at 1.8mm3/L.

Test­ing is car­ried out by Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil monthly dur­ing the warmer months, and ev­ery two months over win­ter. Lakes Hakanoa, Waahi and Whangape are also tested.

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