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Health warning for Okawa Bay, Okere Arm

Thursday, 10 April 2014 4:00 p.m.

A health warning has been issued for the Okere Arm on Lake Rotoiti.  This means that a health warning now applies to both Okawa Bay and Okere Arm on Lake Rotoiti. Routine monitoring results provided by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council have confirmed blooms of blue-green algae which are potentially toxic in these two parts of the lake.

“Blue-green algae are present in the Okere Arm and Okawa Bay on Lake Rotoiti at levels that may result in adverse health effects and so it is advisable for people to avoid contact with the water in these areas,” says Dr Neil de Wet, Medical Officer of Health. 

Contact with algal blooms can cause asthma and hayfever attacks in susceptible individuals, as well as skin rashes, stomach upsets, and in some cases neurological effects such as tingling around the mouth, headaches, breathing difficulties and visual problems.

“Sampling points are limited and blooms can occur and shift quite quickly in the right conditions, so it is always a good idea when using any rivers and lakes to check the water before you get in.” says Dr de Wet.  “If the water looks discoloured, smells unusual, or if there is scum on the surface of lakes or if the beds of rivers are covered by algae, avoid contact with the water.”

Signage has been erected at the Okere Arm advising potential lake users about the algal bloom.  Monitoring will continue and any changes in advice will be communicated accordingly. 

The algal bloom health warning issued for Lake Rotoehu last month remains in place.

The public can obtain up-to-date information on this health warning and others for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts through these channels:

Phone: 0800 221 555

Okere