Tweed pulls plug on dam

TWEED Shire's main water supply, the Clarrie Hall Dam, has been declared off limits after an outbreak of toxic blue-green algae.

Water authorities yesterday issued a 'red alert', warning residents to avoid contact with the water and announced it had stopped drawing water from the dam.

However, Rous Water said the Rocky Creek and Emigrant Creek dams, which along with the Wilsons River form the core of much of the region's water supply, had suffered no similar blooms.

Rous Water operations manager Wayne Franklin said there had, in past years, been 'intermittent' blue green algae outbreaks at Emigrant Creek Dam. Rocky Creek Dam had never had a serious outbreak.

Rous Water's filtering processes were strong enough that its water remained drinkable even in the event of an outbreak of the toxic algae.

And at present, Rous was not drawing water from either dam. Rocky Creek is part-way through a six-month break while the dam's embankment is upgraded and, thanks to heavy rain early in the year, Emigrant Creek Dam has not been needed so far this year.

On the Tweed, the algae outbreak means farmers have been warned to remove stock from affected waterways around the dam; people collecting crayfish or mussels have been told not to eat them; anglers warned to thoroughly clean fish and dam visitors told not to swim or go into the water.

Tweed's red alert was issued by the North Coast Regional Algal Coordinating Committee in conjunction with Tweed Shire Council.

The council's water manager, Anthony Burnham, said residents and visitors should avoid all contact with the water in the dam.

“People who use Clarrie Hall Dam for recreational and farming purposes need to be aware of this situation,” he said. “Warning signs erected around Clarrie Hall Dam are to remain in place until the bloom subsides.”

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