Avoid toxic water

The City has warned residents and visitors to the Wildevoëlvlei in Noordhoek Valley to avoid contact with the water, because it contains toxic blue-green algae.

Wildevoëlvlei has a well-established algal population, dominated by species of blue-green algae (Cyanophyceae).

This algal group has the ability, under certain conditions, to
produce toxins which can be harmful to humans and animals if ingested.

Recent monitoring and laboratory tests undertaken by the City have confirmed that the water contains blue-green algal tox-
ins.

In a statement, the City said the public should avoid all contact with the water at the vlei and in the outlet channel leading to the sea, and discharging on a section of Noordhoek Beach.

Dog-walkers should keep their pets leashed and prevent them from drinking the water.

The harvesting, sale and consumption of shellfish from the rocky outcrops near the outlet to the sea (Klein Slangkop on Noordhoek Beach) is not advised.

Shellfish, such as mussels harvested from this area, are likely to be unfit for human consumption as a result of the toxins.

The algal blooms usually present as green, blue-green, white or brown foam, scum or mats floating on the surface of the water.

Exposure to these algae can cause eye irritation, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhoea, and cold- or flu-like symptoms.

Drinking or swallowing large amounts of contaminated water can be extremely dangerous.

If any person comes into direct contact with the blue-green algae, they should wash themselves immediately with clean water.

If any symptoms present, seek medical advice immediately.

The City’s environmental health officials are posting additional signage at various locations to warn the public of the situation.

The City said it would continue to monitor the water quality of the vlei to inform the pub-
lic about any new develop-
ments.

Water samples from the vlei are assessed regularly as part of the City’s water quality monitoring programme.

Warning signs on the beaches would be removed once the vlei was clear of all potential health risks.

Call the City’s Lakeside environmental health office at 021 4441653 for more information.