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Algae closes lake

Toxic algae has prompted Masterton District Council to close Henley Lake for recreational use. PHOTO/EMMA BROWN

GIANINA SCHWANECKE
[email protected]

Masterton’s Henley Lake has again been closed because of high levels of toxic algae.

Masterton District Council on Tuesday closed the lake to recreational use and issued a health warning.

It’s a recurring issue which flares up over the summer months, with the council monitoring cyanobacteria at the lake every week.

The lake closure comes after a swimming ban placed on the entire Waipoua River by the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Council community facilities and activities manager Andrea Jackson said people should avoid contact with the lake water and keep dogs away.

“Cyanobacteria produce toxins that are harmful to humans and animals if swallowed or through contact with skin such as during swimming or rowing,” she said.

“Exposure may cause symptoms such as skin rashes, nausea, tummy upset, and tingling or numbness around the mouth or tips of fingers. Pregnant women, children and the elderly are more likely to be affected.”

Dogs are especially vulnerable to toxic algae.

Dogwalkers were advised to be wary and anyone who believes their dog may have eaten algae or ingested water should contact their vet immediately.

Jackson also advised people to stay clear of the water’s edge, though they were welcome to use the green space at the park.

Anyone experiencing symptoms after contact with the lake should consult a doctor, who will notify the Public Health Unit.

Over the coming weeks the council will consult users of the Henley Lake area about the future of the lake.

The wider community will be able to share their thoughts as part of the annual plan consultation in March and April.

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