It should have been a cracking start to the season: back-to-back bookings coupled with a heatwave. But for Bathurst Aqua Park owner Michael Hickey, a dream start to the season has turned into a nightmare after Bathurst Regional Council closed the dam on Monday, December 4 for at least 10 days amid an outbreak of blue-green algae. The announcement, made on council's Facebook page, followed water testing undertaken by council seven and five days prior. What Mr Hickey finds most frustrating about the situation is he says he does daily water testing around the aqua park site and his results have come back negative. He said his tests have a turnaround result within 10 minutes, so they are up to date. However council's director of engineering services, Darren Sturgiss, defended the turnaround time, saying it allows council to make informed decisions on the dam. "Samples are sent to a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities) accredited laboratory for analysis. This ensures council uses an evidence-based approach for decision-making that is in line with recommendations from peak bodies and water quality experts," he said. "It requires this amount of time to undertake an accurate analysis." Mr Sturgiss said this decision is made based on accurate data and accepted guidelines. "Council's monitoring program is in line with the speed of change of the risk. As the risk increases, council adjusts the frequency and type of monitoring. "Results now show an unacceptable public health risk, which has led to the recreational red alert." However, Mr Hickey said the blue-green algae isn't in the aqua park vicinity. He said he understands council's sample comes from five points of the entire dam. "There's algae in the dam all year round, especially on the edges, depending on which way the wind blows," he said. "But what we are getting at is that our test is done on site at the aqua park area to give us a clear live daily read to ensure our customers are safe. "So if the dam is open and our section comes back positive, we shut. If the dam is closed and our area is negative, we should be able to remain open. "If there is blue-green algae there [at the aqua park site], obviously I'm going to close the park. I'm not going to put people at risk. "My results are coming back clear, and they are done every day." "We do our own water testing, and if it's clear, we will be opening regardless [of what council says]." He said he had hundreds of school-kids booked in to use the park over the next few days. "We can't operate the way council are doing things at the moment," he said, adding this week was vital for the business. "It costs me between $60,000 and $70,000 just to put the park in the water. Then they do this to us. "People are turning up here in their boats and going what are they talking about? "It's a joke. "The results council are making their decision off are one week old. "I do my own testing and the turnaround is 10 minutes." He said he thinks council tests for a lot more than algae. Mr Hickey said council's announcement in closing Chifley Dam was devastating. "You've just got to ask is it worth coming here," he said. As a business, the aqua park needed support, he said. "We've got every school booked in this week. "And let me be clear, if there's algae there I would close, but there isn't any. "It is the best I've seen the water in five years; it really is a joke. "I can't change it. I can only do what we think is right. We do the water testing daily and if it's not right, we don't let people in. "It's that simple. We need to be able to do our own water testing and I have been advised we can. "That's what we are doing. We will go against the council's water results. "If our test comes back and it's too high, we will close. We are not going to put anyone at risk. I'm the one in the water every morning for two hours. "I'm happy to close if there is an algae problem, but there's no problem."