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Report shows Auckland City beaches pass the test


15 July 2003

Report shows Auckland City beaches pass the test

Of the 350 samples collected from city beaches last summer, only 14 (4 per cent of samples) showed bacteria levels that exceeded guidelines.

No beaches needed to be closed to swimmers, as second tests - conducted within 24 hours - showed that bacteria counts had dropped back down to normal levels. The findings are being reported to this week’s Works Committee outlining Auckland City’s recreational bathing beach monitoring programme for the 2002/2003 summer season.

The report also summarises the results of the monitoring and compares them with the results from previous years. It discusses possible causes of high readings and the issues associated with the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) guidelines for water quality in marine and freshwater recreational areas.

Water samples were collected from 15 city beaches each week between late-October and mid-April, and checked for enterococci bacteria levels. High readings can indicate sewage escaping into the harbour, usually through the stormwater system as a result of an overflow following heavy rain.

“Clearly, our marine water quality is good. And the water quality at some of our beaches – Onetangi and Oneroa on Waiheke Island, Point England beach on the Isthmus, and Medlands beach on Great Barrier – is very good,” says Councillor Bill Christian, chairperson of the works committee.

Where tests showed high readings, these related to eight exceptionally heavy rainfalls last summer, twice as many as in each of the two previous years.

Council and Metrowater officers investigated whenever a test result was returned with high readings and found no evidence of dry-weather sewage overflows that would affect water quality.

“Next summer, Auckland City will continue its Safeswim programme and swimmers will again be able to check how clean the water is at their favourite city beach,” says Mr Christian.

The costs of running Safeswim are shared with North Shore City and Rodney District councils, which also conduct weekly testing over the same period.


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