Increased risk from Toxic Algae in Hutt River

  • Published Date 11 Feb 2016

River users, particularly those with dogs, should avoid upper parts of the Hutt River due to increased growth of toxic algae, says Greater Wellington Regional Council, Regional Public Health and Upper Hutt City Council. 

Monitoring of the Hutt River at Silverstream, Poets Park and Birchville, shows large amount of toxic algal mats are washing up on the river’s edge. Toxic algae, which are brown or black in colour, can kill livestock and dogs – if your dog eats toxic algae, it can die very quickly. In humans, contact with toxic algae can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, skin irritations and other allergy-type symptoms.

We recommend people avoid swimming and keep their dogs on a lead in the upper parts of the Hutt River. Information and warning signs are present at key points along the river, but it is important people know how to recognise toxic algae and are up to date with the latest warnings. The summer check website is the best place to stay informed www.gw.govt.nz/summer-check.

“The downside of the great summer weather we’ve been having is that it creates ideal conditions for toxic algal growth in rivers. It’s been a month since there’s been a flood in the Hutt River. This combined with the warm temperatures has resulted in rapid toxic algae growth. It’s likely that toxic algae is present to some extent all along the Hutt River at the moment so we encourage river users to find out what toxic algae looks like so they can avoid it wherever they access the river”, Greater Wellington Senior Environmental Scientist Summer Greenfield says.

Monitoring of Wellington waterways and coastal areas is carried out by the Regional Council and local authorities on a weekly basis over the summer months. Results of the monitoring and latest warnings are posted on www.gw.govt.nz/summer-check.

For more information visit our toxic algae web page, which includes a guide of what to look for and what to do if you are worried about possible contact.

 

KEEP YOU AND YOUR DOG SAFE FROM TOXIC ALGAE THIS SUMMER:

HOW TO SPOT TOXIC ALGAE – Toxic algae forms brown and black clumps at the river’s edge or in parts of the river where rocks are exposed or it’s shallow

IF YOU THINK YOU SEE TOXIC ALGAE – Avoid touching and swimming near toxic algae. Put your dog on a lead and move away from the river’s edge

IF YOU THINK YOUR DOG HAS EATEN TOXIC ALGAE – Take your dog to a vet immediately

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT SYMPTOMS FOLLOWING CONTACT WITH TOXIC ALGAE – Contact your family doctor

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Summer Greenfield

Senior Environmental Scientist, Aquatic Ecosystems and Quality

Environmental Management Group

Greater Wellington Regional Council

04 830 4069 | 021 0247 4284 | summer.greenfield@gw.govt.nz

 

Medical Officer of Health

Regional Public Health

Phone: 04 570 9002

 

Updated November 12, 2020 at 12:24 AM

Get in touch

Phone:
0800 496 734
Email:
info@gw.govt.nz