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Blue-green algae warning for Mullinger Swamp

Friday 25 January, 2019

Parks Victoria has announced that a blue-green algae bloom is currently affecting Mullinger Swamp, on the Victoria–South Australia border.

Warning signs have been installed at Mullinger Swamp Wildlife Reserve and the public is warned not to swim in and to avoid any direct contact with the affected water.

Direct contact with blue-green algae can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes or itchiness, sore eyes, ears and nose, and if swallowed gastroenteritis, nausea or vomiting.

People who come into contact with contaminated water should wash immediately in fresh water, and seek medical advice if experiencing illness.

Any fish harvested from blue-green algae affected water should have gills and guts removed prior to cooking, and people should not eat whole fish, shellfish or crustaceans. The algae produces toxins that can concentrate in shellfish and crustaceans, and accumulate in the liver and internal organs of fish. Ingesting blue-green algae toxins can lead to serious illness.

Water from the affected water body should not be used for drinking, cooking or other domestic uses. Boiling the water will not make it safe for use.

For any health issues experienced after contact with blue-green algae affected water please seek medical advice immediately.

Irrigators are encouraged to take extra care to avoid spray drift, the pooling of water and inhaling mist from blue-green algae affected water. Affected water should not be sprayed onto leafy vegetables or florets, or allowed to flood pastures.

Pet owners should prevent pets from drinking or having direct contact with contaminated water.

Visitors to the area are advised that they can still enjoy other recreational activities such as bushwalking, boating and sightseeing around the water body.

Members of the public are asked to report any potential blue-green algae blooms to their local water manager.

Parks Victoria and South Australia’s Department of Environment and Water will continue to monitor conditions and will remove signage once the water is safe.

More information about blue-green algae is available from Department of Health and Human Services:

Quotes attributable to Zoe Wilkinson, Area Chief Ranger–Parks Victoria:

“These naturally-occurring blue-green algae blooms appear when there’s the right combination of temperatures, sunlight, stillness and nutrients.”

“While we can’t treat the algae, we’ll continue to monitor water quality and will remove warnings from the reserve and our website when the bloom has naturally cleared. Given that it’s only January, this may be some months away still.”

Media enquiries
Josh Maher
0448 373 986

Parks Victoria media centre