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Toxic Algae: The Return

Toxic algae is once again causing problems in the Hutt River/Te Awa Kairangi, and Greater Wellington is urging swimmers and dog walkers to avoid swimming or taking their dogs from just south of Silverstream (Pomare Bridge) through to Birchville.

The presence of toxic algae has been consistently rising in the river throughout January, and now exceeds alert levels at Birchville, Maoribank, Poets Park and Silverstream.

“Algae mats in these areas are thick and starting to peel, which presents danger to swimmers and dogs. We have to be prudent in these circumstances and advise the public that it’s not safe to swim in those stretches of the river,” says Greater Wellington Environmental Scientist - Freshwater Dr Mark Heath.

Warning signs are being posted in the critical reach of the river between Pomare Bridge and Moonshine Park.

“The good news is that swimmers looking to cool off in the heat should look for relief in the Akatarawa River or in the rivers in Kaitoke Regional Park, where the water is warm and clear.”

While it’s safe to use these parts of the river we are advising people to be cautious, to keep an eye out and avoid any areas where it’s found. 

Although rain is forecast for Thursday and Friday it doesn’t appear, at the moment, that enough will fall to dislodge and flush the toxic algae from the river.

Before you swim, check for water quality on GWRC's website – Safe to Swim.