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Summer checks of swimming spots starts again

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

9 November 2005


Summer checks of swimming spots starts again

Summer monitoring of the water quality at the most popular swimming spots around Hawke's Bay will begin again on Monday 7 November.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council monitors water quality at coastal and river swimming sites, and local councils and Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s public health unit provides information to the public on any health risks.

“When bacteria levels exceed national guidelines there is a greater health risk, and skin, ear and eye infections and stomach illness can be the result. The public health unit advises people of water quality problems via new media, websites and the dedicated phone line,” said Joanne Lynch, HBDHB Health Protection Officer.

Information is available on:

- Safe Swimming line 24 hrs: (06) 878 1368.

- Hawke’s Bay District Health Board website (for alerts): www.healthinhawkesbay.co.nz >under public health alerts.

- The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council website (for results): www.hbrc.govt.nz >under environmental monitoring.

Most of the coastal beaches are good through the summer months and any problems tend to be short lived after heavy rain, with murky water and contamination generally reducing within 3 days.

“Our swimming beaches are generally clean and healthy. However, people are advised to stay out of the water for three days after heavy rain,” says coastal water quality scientist Anna Madarasz of the Regional Council.

Some streams, rivers and coastal lagoons can have longer lasting water quality problems. Local councils put up warning signs at affected sites and investigate to find to see if the source of the contamination can be found. The public should check any warning signs at these places before letting children, in particular, swim in the water.

The addition of the Porangahau Estuary and coastal waters at Te Awanga and Aramoana take the total number of sites being tested this summer to 30. Each week the selected sites are tested for indicators of faecal contamination to assess against national guidelines for water quality set by the Ministries of Environment and Health.

Monitoring will continue until 21 March 2006.

ENDS

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