AGL Macquarie confirms that effective immediately, Lake Liddell is permanently closed for public recreational use.
The decision has been made in the interests of public health and safety, following AGL detecting the amoeba Naegleria fowleri in the lake.
AGL Macquarie General Manager Ian Brooksbank said that Lake Liddell has been closed since late March when the amoeba, which can cause a rare but fatal infection, was first detected.
“Since closing the lake earlier this year AGL has been assessing the long term future of public access to the lake.
“The decision to close the lake permanently has been a difficult one. Public safety must come first and a thorough risk assessment process has reinforced our decision.
“We acknowledge this decision may be disappointing for regular Lake Liddell users.
“AGL is committed to the safety of our employees, contractors, neighbours and our local community, and the closure assists in limiting exposure to infection from amoeba in the lake.
“We have been meeting with the Lake Liddell Recreation Area Reserve Trust, Muswellbrook Council and the NSW Government to work through the implications of Lake Liddell’s permanent public closure.
“These discussions will continue over coming weeks,” said Mr Brooksbank.
Naegleria fowleri are single-celled organisms or amoeba that are naturally occurring and common in warm water bodies.
The amoeba can cause a very rare infection of the brain. The risk of being infected after exposure is very low, but the consequences of infection are severe.
Infection is usually fatal, and has a higher chance of occurring in children and young adults.
Infection can occur if water containing amoeba forcefully enters the nose, through activities such as jumping, diving or falling into the water.
There is no risk of infection from the amoeba by consuming fish caught in the water, or through drinking or touching the water.
Lake Liddell was constructed in the late 1960s as part of the Liddell power station development. The lake is a cooling pond for Liddell power station and water storage facility for both Liddell and Bayswater power stations.
AGL is one of Australia’s leading integrated energy companies. It is taking action to responsibly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while providing secure and affordable energy to its customers. Drawing on over 175 years of experience, AGL serves its customers throughout eastern Australia with meeting their energy requirements, including gas, electricity, solar PV and related products and services. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, solar, landfill gas and biomass.