Toc. face red alert in the Murray

By Daniel Hughes

A red alert warning has been issued for the Murray River at Tocumwal, as a result of blue-green algae.

Water NSW has said usage for recreation, stock, domestic, irrigation and potable water is not advisable, and contact can potentially be harmful to residents and animals.

Water toxicity levels have continued to grow over the last two weeks in Tocumwal.

Berrigan Shire Council has been treating the town water with powdered activated carbon, and says it is still safe to use and drink.

Director technical services Matthew Clarke said toxicity levels in the town supply are dropping, and was 10,000 blue-green algae cells per megalitre on Monday compared to 29,625 cells per megalitre on February 11.

Mr Clarke is confident the water supply for Tocumwal will continue to steadily improve.

“I’ve checked this morning (February 19) and have no complaints about the water currently, and we have certainly received a lot less complaints about taste and odour as the treatment has continued over the last few weeks.

“We will continue to treat the water with powdered activated carbon and continue to monitor the algae levels weekly but from what we can tell, it’s on a declining trajectory.”

Water NSW said any contact with the contaminated Murray River may cause skin and eye irritation.

“Boiling the water does not remove algal toxins. Due to water treatment processes, town water supplies remain safe to drink,” the authority said.

“Livestock owners are reminded to continue to check stock water supplies for blue-green algae and to remove stock from foreshores where surface scum is visible or blue-green algae are suspected.”

Council has erected signs in recreation areas to warn of the algal outbreak.