Water Quality
Local Port of Barwon Heads

Barwon Coast undertakes water quality testing only in the event of a blue-green algae bloom, sewerage leak, oil spill or any other environmental event where water quality can be affected. When water quality conditions effect boating, fishing and recreation in the waters of the Port of Barwon Heads alerts will be posted on this page and on the Barwon Coast Facebook page.

We work closely with Barwon Water, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), Corangamite Catchment Authority and emergency services in the event of compromised water quality.  If you are concerned about the water quality in local waterways you can find more information on the EPA website.

EPA Water Quality Alerts and Further Information

What is Blue-Green Algae?

Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) are a common seasonal occurrence in Victoria and a natural component of most aquatic systems, including streams, lakes, estuaries and the sea. 

Individual cells are very small and are normally not visible in a water body, but numbers can increase rapidly and blooms, or scums, become easily visible across the water surface.

Blooms can be triggered by nutrient levels, low inflows, lower storage volumes and warmer weather conditions. Blooms can be unsightly, ranging in colour from dark-green to yellowish-brown. They develop a paint-like consistency as they dry out and often have a pungent smell.

Direct contact with blue-green algae can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes or itchiness; sore eyes ears and nose or if swallowed gastroenteritis, nausea or vomiting.

People who come in to contact with contaminated water should wash immediately in fresh water. Seek medical advice if experiencing illness after contact with BGA affected water.

Pet owners should prevent pets from drinking or having direct contact with contaminated water. Blue-green algae can be toxic to pets. Call your vet immediately if you suspect poisoning.

Irrigators are encouraged to take extra care to avoid spray drift, the pooling of water and inhaling mist from blue-green alsae affected water. Affected water should not be sprayed onto leafy vegetables or, florets or allowed to flood pastures.