Toxic algae season – reminder to be vigilant around rivers

When the weather is hot and dry, our rivers are at risk of producing toxic algae. Wellington waterways have been infected and Greater Wellington Regional Council will be closely monitoring South Wairarapa’s waterways to ensure our community is informed.

Toxic algae can be harmful to people and dogs, so it is important that we keep vigilant around our rivers so we can all keep safe this summer. 

Algal mats grow on the rocks in the riverbed and form leathery dark green or black mats, which can break off and accumulate at river edges. As the algal mats dry out, they can become light brown colour, and have a distinctive deep earthy or musty smell.

Dogs are mostly at risk because they like the smell and taste of toxic algae. Even a small amount about the size of a 50-cent piece, can be enough to kill a dog. Owners especially need to be vigilant of their dogs sniffing out toxic algal mats which can wash up at river edges.

It’s important the community keeps informed by checking LAWA alerts and following warning signs, so we can all look after our whanau and beloved pets this summer.

If you have been in contact with toxic algae and are feeling unwell see you doctor or ring Healthline 0800 611 116. Seek urgent medical attention for anyone with breathing difficulties or convulsions. If you think your dog has swallowed toxic algae, take it to the nearest vet immediately.

Learn more about toxic algae

Check for toxic algae alerts at the LAWA website

South Wairarapa District Council