High alert issued for blue-green algae at Lake Awoonga
LAKE Awoonga's spring influx of blue-green algae has reached a high alert level earlier than usual due to warmer conditions.
The Gladstone Area Water Board announced the alert on Wednesday, saying the algae was at a level that might affect the health of people who came in direct contact with it.
The warm weather has caused the algae's cells to increase earlier, whereas the natural phenomenon usually occurs in late October or early November.
The recreational hazard alert is expected to remain high throughout spring and summer.
The water board's acting CEO Terry Ward said although the BGA cells were treated to produce safe drinking water, people in direct contact might be affected.
"People coming into direct contact with the raw water in lake Awoonga, however, should be aware that BGA may cause skin and eye irritation and drinking untreated or boiled water may result in illness," Mr Ward said.
"Anglers are reminded that BGA toxins can also accumulate in the internal organs of fish and in mussels."
But he said the blue-green algae had no impact on the region's drinking water, as the water board's water treatment plants processed the water, making it safe.
"This process is constantly monitored to ensure confidence in the provision of high-quality drinking water to the Gladstone community," he said.
Signs at Lake Awoonga indicate the current alert level.