RISK TAKERS: Siblings Grace, 7, Daniel, 10, and Samuel Acret, 5, all of Pottsville, still chose to take to the water despite a blue-green algae red alert for Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head.
RISK TAKERS: Siblings Grace, 7, Daniel, 10, and Samuel Acret, 5, all of Pottsville, still chose to take to the water despite a blue-green algae red alert for Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. Cathy Adams

Lake’s bloomin’ problem

DESPITE a "red alert" being issued for Lake Ainsworth this week after tests revealed high levels of blue-green algae, the Acret kids couldn't resist a swim yesterday.

The family, from Pottsville, have spent holidays in the Lennox Head area for the past 30 years.

Michael Acret said they were well aware that the lake had issues with blue-green algae.

"It's just a risk that you take," he said.

"We tell the kids not to drink the water and we don't let them stay in for as long as we normally would.

"The algae is a bit of a worry, but it's really hard to keep them out of the water.

"They absolutely love it.

"It's a really great spot for kids to swim."

But the North Coast Regional Algal Co-ordinating Committee has advised that people should not go swimming or boating at the lake.

Blue-green algae may cause severe stomach upsets, nausea and skin irritation in people.

Domestic animals should be kept away from the lake, because the algae can kill.

Blue-green algae can be blown around the lake, depending on the wind conditions and people are advised to avoid areas where algae is obvious. Areas affected can change rapidly.

Ballina Shire Council is continuing to monitor the algal bloom and will advise when the levels drop.

For more information about blue-green algae blooms, phone the Algal Information Hotline 1800 999 457 or visit the NSW Office of Water website: www.water .nsw.gov.au/algalalerts.

BLUE-GREEN ALGAE

Blue-green algae often appears as a green paint-like scum on the water and foreshore edges or clumps throughout the water.

It usually has a strong earthy odour. This makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured. However, scums may not be present or visible, especially in windy conditions.

The algae may contain toxins - boiling the water does not remove the toxins.



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