Dam closed due to algae breakout

Staff ReportersPilbara News
The Ophthalmia Dam has been closed after the detection of high levels of cyanobacteria.
Camera IconThe Ophthalmia Dam has been closed after the detection of high levels of cyanobacteria. Credit: Jacqueline McGrady

Ophthalmia Dam has been closed after the detection of high levels of cyanobacteria, which is capable of producing “microcystin” a harmful algal toxin.

The Shire of East Pilbara has closed the dam until the concentration of the toxic algae drops down to safe levels.

Contact with this algal bloom may cause skin irritation possibly leading to severe dermatitis, while ingestion of affected water may also cause severe illness and liver damage.

“The Shire of East Pilbara along with BHP have made the decision to close public access to Ophthalmia Dam in the interest of public health,” Shire President Lynne Craigie said.

“Algae outbreaks are often associated with prolonged periods of heat and minimal rainfall. In 2018, Newman has experienced low rainfall and above average temperatures and as such an outbreak of this type is not unusual. It is important to note that the outbreak does not impact the quality of the town water supply,” she added.

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