CAUTION URGED REGARDING BURNETT RIVER SEAFOOD

Elevated levels of e coli bacteria in the Burnett River are basically confined to the upper reaches of the river.

Council Water & Wastewater spokesperson, Cr. Alan Bush said several enquiries had been received by Council regarding the extent of the infiltration of the e coli and whether or not seafood caught in the Burnett River was safe for consumption.

Cr. Bush said he had been advised that monitoring of the river had shown that the upper reaches in the vicinity of the Millbank Waste Treatment Plant was the main area of concern.

“Testing further down the river in the Kirby’s Wall vicinity had shown that e coli levels were acceptable for recreational activity.

“Regarding the consumption of seafood currently caught in the river I am advised that extreme caution should be observed when contemplating consumption of raw seafood such as shellfish and oysters.”

Cr. Bush said caution should also be observed regarding crustaceans such as prawns. “Obviously while they are cooked many people do not devein their prawns and this is where an issue could occur,” he said.

“Fish and crabs, if properly cooked may be safe for consumption, although again, extreme care is advised.”

Cr. Bush said the “bloom” of discoloured water that finds its way from the river into the sea should pose no problems.

“Basically the area of concern is around Millbank where our treatment plant has been compromised by the flood. It will be several weeks until our plant is fully functional. Until that time Council advises extreme care while these elevated levels of e coli exist in the river system.”

Council is continuing its monitoring of the river and will provide community updates as reportable material comes to hand.

Date: 18-02-2013

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