No quick fix for problems at Ainsworth
By BREE PRICE
THERE is no silver bullet solution to the blue-green algae problems in Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head, a senior environmental adviser has warned.
Alex Purvis, the North Coast regional manager of the Department of Environment and Conservation, said nutrients that fed the algal blooms were already present in the lake and made finding a solution difficult.
"Lakes are particularly susceptible to the algae because the water is still, and Lake Ainsworth acts as a sink for sediments and nutrients," Mr Purvis said.
However, Mr Purvis said that immediate steps must be taken to prevent more nutrients entering the fragile lake ecosystem, particularly through sewage and stormwater run-off.
Camp Drewe, to the lake's north, is unsewered and the lake is surrounded by urban development.
The Lake Ainsworth Caravan Park is located in the catchment area, within only 20 metres of the water in places, and the Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre is on the north-eastern edge of the lake.
Access roads to Camp Drewe and the Sport and Rec Centre also line the lake's southern and eastern edges.
Ballina Shire Council public and environmental health section manager, Graham Plumb, agreed the algae problem at Lake Ainsworth was complex.
However, he said the council was doing everything possible to prevent blooms.
He said the lake's aeration system was working effectively.
"The size and intensity of the blooms prior to the aeration system was worse," he said.
"It is not a situation that can be readily fixed. We are dealing with a natural system.
"If there was a quick fix, we would have jumped on it."