Vigilance urged for dog owners and swimmers as more toxic algae found in the Hutt River

  • Published Date 26 Jan 2022

Vigilance is being urged for swimmers and dog owners as two more river sites along the Hutt River and one on the Pākuratahi River at Kaitoke have returned results of toxic algae at amber warning levels. Detached algal mats are also present at all sites.

The sites are located at Pākuratahi River at Hutt Forks (Kaitoke), Hutt River at Birchville and Hutt River at Poets Park.

Greater Wellington Marine and Freshwater Team Leader, Dr Evan Harrison said, “Toxic algae has increased to amber levels at all sites meaning we strongly advise caution to swimmers and to check the LAWA website regularly for updates before getting in the water”.

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 with detached algal mats being found at both sites, meaning the algae has broken off rocks in the riverbed and accumulated at the river’s edge, within easy reach for dogs, said Dr Harrison.

The Hutt River has already seen monitored areas return red warning levels of toxic algae this month. From Moonshine Bridge to upstream of Taita Rock inclusive there are two sites The Hutt River near Silverstream, and Hutt River upstream of Silverstream bridge which should be avoided.

We’ve seen sites that are safe to swim in, move to dangerous warning levels within a matter of days. The warm weather is accelerating toxic algae growth, which highlights the importance of checking LAWA’s latest results before heading there with or without your pets, added Dr Harrison.

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.


Learn more about toxic algae.

Check for toxic algae alerts at the LAWA website

Updated January 28, 2022 at 10:59 AM

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