Tests carried out by Northland Regional Council have shown low concentrations of cyanotoxin at Lake Omapere and caution is being advised. The situation is being monitored and visitors to Lake Omapere are being cautioned not to use the water body for recreational purposes.
Cyanobacteria produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals if swallowed or through contact with skin (such as may occur when swimming, water skiing or kayaking). Exposure to cyanobacteria may cause symptoms such as skin rashes, nausea, tummy upset and tingling and numbness around the mouth or tips of fingers. Boiling water does not remove toxins and drinking of the water should be avoided at all times.
Fish and shellfish can concentrate toxins and their consumption should be avoided.
Cyanobacteria occur naturally but can increase rapidly during summer months. If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, avoid all contact. Not all cyanobacterial blooms are visible to the naked eye and toxins can persist after the bloom has disappeared. Cyanobacterial concentrations can change quickly with changing environmental conditions (eg, wind). If a health warning is in place, avoid contact with the water.
Northland Regional Council monitors cyanobacteria at Lake Omapere during the summer and the public will be advised of any changes in water quality that are of public health significance.
If you experience health symptoms after contact with contaminated water, seek medical assessment immediately and then contact the on call Health Protection Officer at Te Whatu Ora on 09 430 4100.