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15 April 2014

Algal bloom warning for Wellstead estuary in Bremer Bay

The Department of Health is warning people to avoid contact with an algal bloom that has formed in the Wellstead estuary in Bremer Bay.

Department of Health, Environmental Health Director, Jim Dodds said the algae bloom which is defined by a bright orange to yellow discolouration in the water, is not linked to a recent bush fire that passed through the region.

"Contact with, or ingestion of affected water may cause some ill health effects and skin irritation. Recreational activities such as swimming, wading, fishing, crabbing, shellfish collection and canoeing in these waters should be avoided, particularly where discolouration is visible," he said.

"Pets and livestock should also be kept away from the water during the bloom."

Mr Dodds said the Shire of Jerramungup have placed health warning signs at the main access points leading into the affected waterway.

Anyone who comes in contact with algal affected water should rinse it off with clean water and seek medical attention if they feel unwell.

"As a general rule people should avoid swimming in water that is discoloured or has scum on the surface, and not collect wild shellfish as their safety cannot be guaranteed," he said.

Mr Dodds said commercially available shellfish from supermarkets in Western Australia was not affected, as it was managed by a strict quality assurance program to ensure that it was safe for human consumption.

The Department of Water and the Shire of Jerramungup will continue to monitor the algal bloom at this location and provide advice on algal levels to the Department of Health.

Further information regarding algal blooms and recreational water quality can be found by visiting Environmental waters at the Department of Health website.

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333

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