Areas of Lake Burley Griffin closed to primary contact

Media Release

6 February 2019

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Areas of Lake Burley Griffin closed to primary contact

The National Capital Authority (NCA) wishes to advise that due to elevated blue green algae and bacteria levels, certain areas of Lake Burley Griffin are closed to primary contact. This includes full immersion activities such as swimming, bathing, novice secondary contact recreation, and windsurfing.

The analysis of water quality samples taken confirms that elevated blue green algae levels have been recorded in East Basin and Central Basin and elevated bacterial levels recorded at Weston Park East, Weston Park West and Yarralumla Beach. These areas are now closed for primary contact recreation.

These are the first closures of Lake Burley Griffin since the recreation season began in mid-October, the best seasonal results on record since 2011.

The Lake will remain closed to primary contact until algae and bacteria levels have reduced to safe levels. Only experienced lake users can participate in secondary contact recreation activities, such as sailing, canoeing and rowing.

All Lake users should look for warning signs indicating the current alert level at our beaches. Pet owners should not allow their animals to swim in or drink lake water in areas where there are algal scums.

There is an increased risk of adverse health effects from water exposure. If contact occurs, wash the skin as soon as possible with water and soap. Symptoms of exposure may include skin irritation, flu-like symptoms, and gastrointestinal illness. It is advised to see a healthcare professional if these symptoms occur.

Event organisers should ensure that participants are aware of the algae alert level, associated exposure risks and provide adequate showering facilities for after events.

The NCA will continue to monitor lake water quality as per standard protocols with samples collected weekly. Under the ACT Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality, two consecutive clear results must be received before lowering or removing alerts.

We remind the public that by keeping gutters and drains clean of leaf waste and grass clippings, less nutrients are washed into the lake. Over time green waste increases the nutrient load which often aids blue green algae growth.

WHAT:                 Areas of Lake Burley Griffin closed to primary contact.

WHERE:               Central Basin

                                East Basin

                                Yarralumla Beach

                                Weston Park East

                                Weston Park West

 WHEN:                Until further notice.