Ophthalmia Dam Closure - Due to High Levels of Cyanobacteria

Published on Wednesday, 19 December 2018 at 12:00:00 AM

The Shire of East Pilbara in conjunction with BHP wishes to advise all residents and visitors that recent monitoring of recreational water quality at the Ophthalmia Dam has detected high levels of cyanobacteria which is capable of producing “Microcystin” a harmful algal toxin. Contact with this algal bloom may cause skin irritation possibly leading to severe dermatitis, while ingestion of affected water may also cause severe illness and liver damage.

Algae outbreaks are often associated with prolonged periods of heat and minimal rainfall. In 2018, Newman has experienced low rainfall and above average temperatures and as such an outbreak of this type is not unusual. The outbreak does not impact the quality of the town water supply.

Public access to the recreational area at the dam has been closed with immediate effect in the interest of public health. BHP and the Shire will continue to monitor and assess the levels of the toxic algae in the dam. Public access to the recreational area will be restored once the concentration of the toxic algae drops down to safe levels. Please contact the Shire of East Pilbara Manager Development Services – Health for further enquiries on mobile 0419 311 545 or the WA Environmental Health Directorate on phone number (08) 9388 4999.

Jeremy Edwards
Chief Executive Officer