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Summer Testing Starts On 0800 Safeswim Beaches

Tomorrow marks the start of the second summer season of 0800 Safeswim, the beach water quality testing service offered by Auckland City and North Shore City Councils.

From November to Easter, over 40 beaches are tested each week throughout the North Shore and Auckland City areas, including Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands, to ensure the beaches meet national health guidelines (stipulated by the Ministry of Health and Ministry for the Environment).

The service provides user-friendly information to beach-goers. From Friday, November 10, results are freely available from the Friday each week, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 0800 SAFESWIM (0800 72 33 79) or by visiting either of the Councils’ websites – HYPERLINK http://www.akcity.govt.nz www.akcity.govt.nz or www.nscc.govt.nz

Auckland City Council’s Works Committee chairperson, Councillor Doug Astley, says the summer beach monitoring programme provides useful information for bathers.

“We’re pleased bto be working with North Shore to protectenhance the safety of the region’s swimmers. By working together, we can ensurehance there is a consistent approach to water quality standardsfor all the people who use our most popular beaches,” he says.

North Shore City Council’s Regulatory and Hearings Committee chairperson, Councillor Wyn Hoadley, says North Shore City this year improved its beach water quality monitoring programme by extending testing to cover the whole year and increasing the number of beaches tested.

Councillor Hoadley says the success of the joint SafeSwim programme prompted
the improvements. more...
-2-

“We've added Chelsea and Kendall Bays in Birkenhead to the list of popular
swimming beaches that are tested, bringing the total number of North Shore
City beaches tested to 26,” she says.

“SafeSwim is on-line on our website, where web surfers can not only check out a map of the city pointing out the many beaches, but also find answers to commonly asked questions about beach pollution, how we test for it and why.”

The monitoring programme tests for enteroccoci, which indicate the level of pathogens bacteria in beach water. Pathogens can cause illness, most commonly mild diarrhoea or respiratory infection.

If the tests show high levels of enteroccoci, people will be advised not to swim or participate in water activities. Warning signs will be erected along affected beaches and an investigation undertaken into the source of the pollution. As a general rule, people are advised not to swim within 48 hours after heavy rainfall.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
John McEwing, Environmental Protection Manager, North Shore City, tel: 486 8651.
Penny Pirrit, Environmental Protection Manager, Auckland City, tel: 379 2020.

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