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Heavy rain causes swimming warnings

21 December 2006

Heavy rain causes swimming warnings

Recent heavy rain has caused pollution to contaminate many Hawke’s Bay waterways, says Hawke’s Bay’s District Health Board Medical Officer of Health, Dr Caroline McElnay.

Dr McElnay is advising people to avoid all freshwater recreational waterways such as lagoons, streams, and rivers until at least three days after heavy rain.

Waterways that are known to currently contain high levels of bacteria, from sampling undertaken on 18 and 19 December 2006 include:

- Waipatiki Lagoon

- Puhokio Stream at Waimarama

Monitoring by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has shown levels of bacterial pollution that exceed the levels recommended in the Ministries of Health and Environment’s recreational water guidelines. The level of these bacteria indicates excessive amounts of faecal matter, either animal or human, present in the water.

The Public Health Unit would like to remind people that all surface water should be assessed before swimming by checking that the water is clear. (Can you see your foot when knee deep in the water). Clear water is generally a sign that it is free from contamination.

“This is definitely a good time to use a swimming pool.” Dr McElnay said.

The Public Health Unit operates a “Safe Swimming Line” the number is (06) 878-1368. This line is updated regularly with information on sites that may be contaminated. Results are also available from the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council website www.hbrc.govt.nz.

ENDS

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