High-risk toxic algae in Waikanae River at old State Highway 1

  • Published Date 28 Feb 2024
All Tags

Red alert level warnings for toxic algae are in place for the Waikanae River at the old State Highway 1, Kāpiti. Toxic algae, or cyanobacteria, is harmful to humans and lethal for dogs if ingested. 

Greater Wellington senior advisor integration and insights Penny Fairbrother says there are moderate amounts of toxic algae in the river, including detached algal mats.  

“Detached mats pose the greatest risk to people and pets. We strongly advise everyone to avoid contact with water, and for dog walkers to avoid walking near the river at the old State Highway 1” says Fairbrother.  

“Levels of toxic algae at Jim Cooke Park have lowered to amber, however we still advise dog walkers and swimmers, particularly young families, to be cautious and consider visiting an area where the water is safer.  

“Even a very small amount of toxic algae, the size of a 50-cent coin, is enough to kill a dog.” 

Dog owners who think their animals have swallowed toxic algae, or shows signs of lethargy, muscle tremors, fast breathing, paralysis or convulsions, should go to the nearest vet immediately.

People who have been in contact with toxic algae and are feeling unwell, should see a doctor or ring Healthline on 0800 611 116. 

“While heavy rain helps to flush toxic algae away, it increases the risk of bacterial contamination in rivers and streams,” adds Fairbrother. “Remember, wait two days after rain before you swim again.” 

Greater Wellington is urging the community to check for LAWA website warnings and alerts before visiting rivers in the Wellington Region. 

Learn more out toxic algae

Check for toxic algae alerts at the LAWA website

Updated February 28, 2024 at 3:51 PM

Get in touch

0800 496 734