Water health warnings

by Anonymous Author

Health warnings are in force for a number of waterways around Selwyn.

The Canterbury District Health Board has issued health warnings after the discovery of toxic algal blooms in the Selwyn River and in Lake Ellesmere.

The potentially toxic blue-green algae (benthic cyanobacteria) was found in the Selwyn River at the Whitecliffs Domain and at Glentunnel, while a health warning was issued for Lake Ellesmere after high concentrations of blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) were discovered after testing.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink said people and animals, particularly dogs, should avoid the area of the Selwyn River at Whitecliffs Domain and Glentunnel until the health warning has been lifted.

“Phormidium mats have been found in the Selwyn River and some of these mats are detaching and accumulating at the sides of the river,” Dr Pink said.

“The algae look like dark brown to black mats and can produce toxins harmful to people and animals.

“Exposure may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and numbness around the mouth and fingertips.”

He said the Selwyn District Council as the drinking water supplier is following agreed procedures to ensure its reticulated drinking water supplies are safe.

The same warning is in force for Lake Ellesmere with an additional warning not to consume fish and shellfish in the Lake. 

Environment Canterbury will monitor both sites advise when the warnings are lifted.