Blue-green algae (BGA), also called cyanobacteria, are microscopic photosynthetic bacteria that are natural inhabitants of rivers and lakes. They also occur naturally in habitats such as damp soil, tree trunks and hot springs.
Some BGA species release toxins into the water, which can adversely affect humans and livestock. For some people, recreational contact with water containing a high concentration of blue-green algae cells may cause skin or eye irritation.
MIWB has installed a state-of-the-art membrane treatment plant which filters blue-green algae out prior to supplying water to the city.
An algae bloom is a term used to describe a significant population increase in the number of algal cells present in the water body.
Blue-green algae blooms are very common during summer in natural and man-made water storages where nutrients levels are high and water turbulence is low. The longer the period of calm weather conditions, the greater the “bloom forming potential”. Blooms generally persist for several weeks or sometimes months.
Mount Isa’s current BGA bloom has been present in the Clear Water Lagoon for two years, but has recently receded from the unprecedented levels recorded during February 2015.