Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2012 Week 3 Hansard (22 March) . . Page.. 1232..
Water for a full list of hazards. The ACT Health Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality supplements the NHMRC guidelines and clarifies two aspects that are a particular issue in the ACT namely the blue-green algae and microbial pathogens.
(5) The ACT Health Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality were updated in June 2010, the guidelines will be reviewed when additional evidence becomes available. The Health Protection Service maintains a watching brief on blue-green algae and adverse health effects which includes recreational activities.
(6) The National Capital Authority (NCA) is responsible for the management of Lake Burley Griffin. To ensure a consistent approach to the management of risks associated with water quality and recreational use of water bodies, the NCA makes decisions about lake closures in accordance with the Guidelines developed by the ACT Health Directorate. The NCA undertakes water quality testing at least once per week from October to April for bacterial indicators. Algae are monitored weekly all year. Full results of water quality tests for Lake Burley Griffin are published each week on the NCA website www.nationalcapital.gov.au.There is a link from the main front page to the Water Quality Updates. When water quality issues are detected, the NCA provides public warnings via its website, a web-based subscription service, media releases and Twitter. Where extreme levels of risk exist, the NCA also places warning signs at swim beaches. The NCA, through its Lake User Group, has distributed information about the risks associated with exposure to harmful bacteria and blue-green algae to lake users through the clubs and associations. The NCA also publishes a link to the ACT Water Quality Guidelines for Recreational Waters on its website. The NCA ensures that organisers of events on Lake Burley Griffin are aware of health-risks associated with water quality.
In regard to other lakes in the ACT, the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) undertakes weekly inspections of Lake Ginninderra, Lake Tuggeranong and the Molonglo Reach Water Ski area. These inspections are carried out throughout the year. Where blue-green algae is identified, water samples are taken and appropriate action is taken. In determining the appropriate action to take the EPA refers to the ACT Health Guidelines for Recreational Water Quality. Results are reported weekly on the Environment and Sustainability Development Directorate web-site (http://www.environment.act.gov.au/water/water_quality/blue-green_algae_monitoring ) and via a 'Lakes' email group. This information outlines if the lakes are open or closed to the public for primary or secondary contact. These weekly up-dates are the key method of communication with the public if the algae alert level is low. If the algae alert level is classified as 'medium' or 'high', media releases are also developed to communicate this information to the public. The EPA has developed a 'Lakes Media Release distribution list' to assist disseminating this information to clubs and associations. The EPA works with representatives from Territory and Municipal Services to ensure warning signs are displayed at the lake/s as appropriate. When the algae falls below alert levels all previously notified organisations are advised, and the web-site is updated to reflect that the alert has been lifted.
Environment—carbon neutral schools (Question No 2040)
Mr Rattenbury asked the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, upon notice, on 23 February 2012 (redirected to the Minister for Education and Training):