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Health warning lifted for Whakatane River

Monday, 24 March 2014 1:00 p.m.

The health warning in place since February for Whakatane River, near Ruatoki Bridge, in the Eastern Bay of Plenty has been lifted. 

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Phil Shoemack says “monitoring of the river performed by Bay of Plenty Regional Council confirms that the problem associated with the potentially toxic algae has subsided.”

Despite the lifting of the warning Dr Shoemack advises that the public should always be alert for signs of algal mats in the river. Dr Shoemack advises people to make their own visual assessment of the river and stay out of the river if black and brown algal mats are found covering large areas of the river bed.

The algal mats were caused by cyanobacteria, which are sometimes known as blue-green algae.  These algae have the potential to produce toxins which can be harmful to people and animals.

Monitoring will continue and any changes in advice will be communicated accordingly.  The public can obtain up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts through these channels:

cyanobacterial mat