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Blue-green algae at Lake Tarawera

Test results have confirmed there is blue green algae in Lake Tarawera. After sightings of water discolouration earlier this month, samples were taken from the middle of Lake Tarawera and at Te Rata Bay near Hot Water Beach, and test results have identified the presence of the algae.

“The blue-green algae identified are potentially toxic but the levels of algae are below health guidelines,” Bay of Plenty Regional Council Science Manger Rob Donald says. “We recommend that people do not swim in the water if it is discoloured.

Council is monitoring the situation closely. Lake Tarawera is at ‘amber alert’ level, which means the situation will continue to be monitored but no formal health warning is justified at this stage.

The blue-green algae have arrived recently in New Zealand and are now present in lakes throughout the North Island. Algal blooms will cause the water to appear green and cloudy and at times the algae colonies will be visible as small green specks.

“The warmer weather and calm conditions in the lake promotes the growth of the algae,” said Mr Donald.