Atkinson Dam was closed over the weekend due to increases in blue-green algae (right).
Atkinson Dam was closed over the weekend due to increases in blue-green algae (right). Sarah Harvey

Lake shut by poisonous algae

A POPULAR boating and fishing lake in Somerset has been closed because of an increase of a poisonous algae.

Atkinson Dam, west of Lowood, was closed after blue-green algae was found in the water.

Dam management group SEQWater closed the dam late last week in the interest of public safety.

A south-east Queensland water grid spokesperson said the dam was closed as a precaution, with only small amounts of the algae detected.

"At time of closure and at present, there are minor levels of blue-green algae," the spokesperson said.

"The water grid takes a proactive and conservative approach to managing water quality, as guided by the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Department of Environment and Resource Management blue-green algae guidelines.

"Safety at our dams is a key priority, and access to water-based activities will not be reopened until it is safe to do so."

Despite the closure, Atkinson Dam Waterfront Caravan Park manager James Lapham said the dam was still heavily used over the weekend.

"It doesn't stop people from using it ... There were probably still 20 boats out there," he said.

No other local dams are currently affected by the poisonous algae.

Mr Lapham said SEQWater had previously told him they could not police lake closures and could only advise people against using the dam.

"I think as long as people aren't drinking the water they should be fine," he said.

Mr Lapham said most fishers returned their catches to the lake and didn't eat the potentially poisoned catch.

SEQWater said the dam would remain closed until the algae had dissipated, with hot and dry conditions likely to see the algae remain in the dam.



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