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Pollution danger - steer clear of Owhiro Bay

NEWS RELEASE 15 February 2008

Pollution danger - steer clear of Owhiro Bay

Owhiro Bay Beach has been closed to the public as a result of a suspected sewage leak in the area.

Wellington City Council is erecting 'beach closed' signs and is urging people to stay clear of the water in the area until further notice.

Routine water-quality monitoring earlier this week found that the presence of enterococci - an indicator of microbiological pollution, including sewage - in Owhiro Bay was at a level likely to cause a health hazard. Daily sampling has since found that the levels have remained high.

The Council has closed the beach following consultation with Regional Public Health staff.

City Council Infrastructure Planning Manager Maria Archer says the source of the contamination is not obvious. It does not appear to be coming from the Owhiro Stream - so there may be a broken sewer main in the area. Council engineers are urgently checking all mains in the area.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Stephen Palmer says the presence of enterococci in the water indicates it is unsuitable for swimming or recreational contact. Health problems that can be associated with the ingestion of contaminated water include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. In addition, cuts and skin lesions can become infected.

ENDS


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