Hutt at Heart
Toxic algae in the Hutt River
Toxic algae in the Hutt River in early 2018

Toxic algae in Te Awakairangi

Hot weather and low rainfall have combined to increase the risk of toxic algae with parts of the Hutt River now over the limit for safe swimming.

Toxic algae has been found at the Silverstream monitoring site.

It grows on submerged river stones, presenting with a shiny brown/dark green to violet coating. It can also become unstable and detach, floating to the surface forming small brown/black mats at the water’s edge.

It is important to keep an eye on babies and toddlers who may put objects in their mouths. Seek emergency medical attention immediately if anyone in your group swallows toxic algae.

Caution should also be taken when exercising dogs by rivers as they are strongly attracted to the musty smell of drying mats and will eat them where they can, which could be fatal.

Given the rapid growth of toxic algae and its potential change in coverage between weekly monitoring points people are also urged to know what it looks like.

They should check out information signs around popular swimming areas and visit Greater Wellington’s Is it Safe to Swim? website and water quality tool.

Check out the Greater Wellington Region Facebook page for images and more information about toxic algae.

What is toxic algae and why does it grow in our river?

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