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Auckland's beaches looking good for summer

6 December 2005

Auckland's beaches looking good for summer

With summer well and truly here, Aucklanders heading to the beach to cool off can rest assured that water quality at beaches covered by the Safeswim programme is up to scratch.

That has been confirmed by the latest test results from the Safeswim programme, jointly run by Auckland City, North Shore City and Rodney District Council. The programme involves weekly testing of water quality at 64 beaches and lakes in the region, including some on Great Barrier and Waiheke islands.

Since testing began in late October, all beaches tested have received a 'safe' rating each week. A 'safe' rating means that the water quality is within the Ministry for Environment's guidelines and safe for swimming. Weekly test results are available to the public via the 0800 SAFESWIM number or by visiting their local council's website.

The monitoring programme tests for enterococci bacteria in beach water and E.coli in fresh water. A high level of these bacteria indicates the presence of faecal material in the water. Testing for enterococci and E.coli is an easily obtained and reliable measurement of beach water quality.

Chris Dee, environmental health manager at Auckland City, says high levels are usually a result of bacteria in stormwater and wet weather sewage overflows being swept out to sea.

"For example, dog droppings that haven't been picked up can be swept by rain into the stormwater system which then empties into the sea," says Mr Dee.

"For this reason, we recommend that people do not swim within 48 hours of heavy rainfall."

The Safeswim programme runs for 25 weeks, through to April 2006.

For more information, visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/safeswim or call 0800 SAFESWIM (0800 72 33 79).

ENDS

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