Blue Mountains City Council is warning residents and visitors to avoid contact with the water in a tributary of Hazelbrook Creek near Horseshoe Falls, after hundreds of dead Giant Spiny Crayfish were discovered by a tour guide yesterday.
An inspection by Council staff found up to 1,000 dead, or dying, crayfish extending at least 600m downstream from Oaklands road/Hall Parade, at Hazelbrook.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are assisting in the investigation, which includes testing water and the crayfish carcasses.
Mayor, Mark Greenhill, said: “Council is working closely with the EPA on this matter.
“Council advises against contact with the water in the creek, or the affected crayfish, until the cause of the deaths can be determined. This applies to humans and pets.
“Warning signs have been put up, at the location, to warn those visiting the area that the water has been contaminated and is being investigated. The tributary drains a sub catchment, with mainly residential development in the area.”
The crayfish carcasses are being sampled at an EPA laboratory in Lidcombe. Results are expected to take at least one week and testing may be ongoing as results become available.
The Giant Spiny Crayfish, a local native species, face many dangers from runoff, pesticides and habitat destruction. Crayfish traps are illegal in Blue Mountains swamps and waterways.
Council is calling on anyone who may have observed anything being dumped or washed into the creek, to please contact BMCC on 4780 5000 or the EPA Pollution hotline on 131 555.