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Sewage overflows - steer clear of South Coast

2 May 2008

Sewage overflows - steer clear of South Coast

Swimmers and surfers are advised to stay away if possible from the South Coast for at least the next 24 hours following sewage overflows resulting from the heavy rain yesterday.

Highly-diluted sewage overflowed from several points in the sewerage network around the South Coast yesterday due to a heavy incursion of stormwater.

Visual inspections have been carried out around the coast both yesterday and today - and no obvious signs of pollution detected. Water samples have also been taken - and the results should be available tomorrow (Saturday) morning.

However Council staff, following discussions with Regional Public Health officials, have placed temporary 'beach closed' warning signs on the beachfront at Houghton and Island Bays - where the overflows occurred.

City Council Infrastructure Planning Manager Maria Archer says up to 90mm of rain fell overnight till yesterday morning. "There's no obvious indication that hazardous levels of sewage flowed into the sea - but we're just being prudent.

"It's never wise to swim or surf in waters around built-up areas for a couple of days after heavy rain Generally, lots of contaminants are washed from the city streets are washed into the harbour and sea through the stormwater system - and occasionally we will get very dilute overflows from the sewerage system."

Medical Officer of Health Annette Nesdale says contact with water that has potentially been contaminated with sewage can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. In addition, cuts and skin lesions can become infected.


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