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Council to test Lake Pupuke for public health

Council to test Lake Pupuke for public health

North Shore City Council this week moved to add Lake Pupuke in Takapuna to its Safeswim water quality monitoring programme and reallocated funding that was previously used for testing beach water quality during winter.

An existing programme for monitoring wastewater overflows will continue year-round ensuring that public health is protected during the winter season.

The council's works and environment committee chairperson, Joel Cayford, says with significantly lower recreational use of beaches over winter, it makes sense to reallocate funding to address an area where there is a potentially higher risk to public health.

"The Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health recently confirmed freshwater recreational use guidelines, requiring us to monitor Lake Pupuke because of its high recreational use. We already have a robust overflow monitoring programme that will ensure public health is protected over winter so it seems logical to reallocate funding to meet our new public health responsibilities," says Councillor Cayford.

"We have invested heavily in Project CARE to improve water quality at North shore City's beaches and streams. Overflow patterns are becoming more predictable and therefore easier to manage, which is also reducing the risk to public health."

Six high-usage sites at Lake Pupuke will be added to the 27 existing marine sites in the Safeswim programme, and a helicopter will be used to gather samples.

North Shore City's environmental programmes co-ordinator, Trish Kirkland-Smith, says preliminary research suggests water quality in Lake Pupuke is not always up to public health standards and regular monitoring will provide the information needed to meet the new national public health guidelines.

"By cutting winter sampling we are falling in line with the Auckland City Council and Rodney District Council approach, and at the same time will be able to put more resource into proactive community water quality and public health education," says Ms Kirkland Smith.

People wishing to obtain up-to-date water quality information can do by visiting www.northshorecity.govt.nz or calling 0800 SAFESWIM (0800 723 379).

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