The Hell of the West committee has sadly had to cancel the swim leg of this weekend's triathlon.
A Red Alert level warning (high alert) for toxic blue-green algae has been issued for the Macintyre River at Goondiwindi.
A red alert level warning indicates that people should not undertake recreational activities where they may be coming into direct contact with the water such as swimming, or domestic uses such as showering and washing.
Contact with the water may also pose a threat to livestock and pets.
Stock and domestic users in this stretch of the Macintyre River should exercise a high level of caution, seek alternate water supplies. Park users along the Macintyre River should watch their pets closely and not let them drink or enter the water. Stock and domestic users further along the river should apply caution and inspect water sources for algae scums.
The algae identified is known to be toxic, however town water supplies remain safe as the treatment processes will remove the toxins. People are advised not to enter the water, not to drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the river while this red alert level warning is in place.
Boiling the water will not remove algal toxins. if consumed without appropriate treatment, it may cause gastroenteritis and other potentially serious health conditions. Skin and eye irritations may occur after contact with the water.
Blue-green algae usually appear as green paint-like scums on the water, near the edges, or as greenish clumps throughout the water. It makes the water appear dirty, green or discoloured and generally has a strong musty or earthy odour.
People should not eat mussels or crayfish from red alert warning areas. Any fish caught should be cleaned and washed thoroughly in uncontaminated water and any internal organs disposed of before consumption.
Blue-green algae occur naturally and can reproduce quickly in favourable conditions where there is still or slow-flowing water, abundant sunlight and sufficient levels of nutrients.
It is not possible to predict how long the algae will remain at high levels. Regular monitoring will continue and the alert will be lifted as soon as the high levels of algae dissipate.
People who believe they may have been affected by blue-green algae are advised to seek medical advice.
Meanwhile, the Red Alert at Boggabilla Weir has now been reduced to Amber Alert.
Areas where an Amber Alert applies recreational water users still need to apply caution and restrict water activities if algae scums or high concentrations of algae become visible.
Updates about blue-green algae blooms and red level warning areas can be obtained by visiting www.waternsw.com.au/water-quality/algae or calling 1800 999 457.