A Wagga councillor fears mass fish deaths could soon resurface at Lake Albert, bringing with it a repulsive stench.
Councillor Kerry Pascoe said the council needs to be on high alert this summer in case there is a repeat of the infamous 2010 fish deaths.
Back in February 2010, council's staff were forced to wade through metres of thick mud before reaching the water, which then only came up to their knees, as they collected the dead fish.
According to The Daily Advertiser's coverage, the council blamed the mass deaths on the sudden fall in water levels and subsequent dissolved oxygen content in the remaining water due to blue-green algae.
At the time, residents also feared an explosion of mosquitoes and other insects breeding in the water, which posed a real threat amid a Ross River fever breakout.
Cr Pascoe, who was mayor during the mass fish deaths, said he was not certain the problem will happen this summer, but the council needs to be prepared to take quick action.
"[We need] to have the workforce that can struggle in the water and mud to clean them out," he said.
"The lake is still at a reasonable height and it has to go down more ... it depends on the weather conditions this summer, but you never know and that's why I want them on alert."
In other news:
Lake Albert resident and founder of the Friends of the Lake group Robert Lazzarini said the mass deaths are unavoidable if the lake's water levels are not replenished.
However, he said the council is "quite capable" in taking the appropriate action when the fish start to die again.
"There's no question that without rain it's inevitable," he said.
"There's nothing else we can do - we can't add water to the lake, so the fish will die and what we can do is remove the dead fish."
The council said the Department of Primary Industries has been monitoring waterways across the state to identify high risk areas for fish deaths and poor water quality.
They said the fish might be relocated if the lake is deemed a priority area.
"Lake Albert has been placed on the fish rescue database and DPI NSW will be assessing the level of priority compared to other waterways," they said.
"Staff will advise of any notifications from DPI and liaise regarding any support that may be required of council in response to any declining conditions."