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Summer checks of swimming spots starts again

16 November 2007

Summer checks of swimming spots starts again

Summer monitoring of the water quality at the most popular swimming spots around Hawke's Bay began again on 5 November.

The public can get information on water quality right through summer from the 24 hour Safe Swimming line - 06 878 1368 – or the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council website www.hbrc.govt.nz.

Most of the coastal beaches in Hawke’s Bay have good water quality through the summer months. Any problems tend to be short-lived, with murky water and contamination generally reducing within three days after heavy rain. However some streams, rivers and coastal lagoons can have longer lasting water quality problems.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council monitors the water quality at 30 coastal and river swimming sites from Mahia to Porangahau. Staff look for bacteria which may indicate the presence of faecal contamination that can cause illness.

Local councils and the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board’s Public Health Unit provide information on any health risks to the public through the dedicated phone line, local news media, websites and signage.

“When bacteria levels in the water exceed national guidelines there is a greater risk of skin, ear and eye infections and stomach illness, so the Public Health Unit advises people of water quality problems,” said Dr Caroline McElnay, medical officer of health from the Hawke’s Bay District Health Board.

National water quality guidelines have been set by the Ministries of Environment and Health.

“It only takes a moment to check signs at the beach, phone the Safe Swimming Line or go on the internet before letting children, in particular, swim in the water. Safe swimming is about recognising and preparing for all risks in and around the water”, says Dr McElnay.

ENDS

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