Toxic algae reappears in Wairarapa rivers as warm weather continues

  • Published Date 16 Mar 2022

Swimmers are being advised to take caution while dog owners should keep dogs on leashes or avoid three river sites in the Wairarapa with toxic algae, including detached algal mats being identified.

The sites are located at Ruamāhanga at Double Bridges, Ruamāhanga at Te Ore Ore, and Waingawa at South Rd

Greater Wellington Senior Advisor, Environmental Science, Penny Fairbrother said “Toxic algae has increased to amber levels at the site meaning we advise caution to swimmers using these areas. As toxic algae often occurs in patches, the best thing people can do to stay safe, is to know what it looks like so you can avoid it”.

The warning bears greater significance for dog owners as dogs like the smell and taste of the algae and a small piece, only around the size of a 50c coin, is enough to kill a dog.

“The risk is higher still with detached algal mats being found at all sites, meaning the algae has broken off rocks in the riverbed and accumulated at the river’s edge, within easy reach for dogs, said Fairbrother.

“Caution is advised for people and their pets until this warning has been removed from the LAWA website”.

This resurgence is likely due to the lasting spell of warm weather in the area, and it serves as a reminder, even as summer winds down, to check the latest status on LAWA before swimming in your local river.” added Fairbrother

Greater Wellington is currently monitoring popular swimming spots around the region on a weekly basis to ensure the community knows when where it’s safe to swim.

Members of the public who think they or their dogs have been in contact with toxic algae should see your doctor or ring Healthline on 0800 611 116 and for their dogs, take it immediately to the nearest vet.

Updated March 16, 2022 at 4:45 PM

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