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Beach water quality testing underway for summer

Media release
19 November 2012

Beach water quality testing underway for summer

This summer’s Safeswim beach water quality monitoring is underway with more than 60 beaches in the region included in the programme.

Samples from 69 beaches stretching from Hatfield’s Beach in the north to Sandspit Beach, near Waiuku, in the south are now being collected and tested for specific bacteria.

Results from Auckland Council’s weekly monitoring will be available online and via an 0800 Safeswim number. The programme will run to 26 March next year.

Environmental Services manager Janis McArdle says the Safeswim programme ensures the water at the region’s key recreational beaches is regularly tested and the public advised if it is safe to swim at the monitored sites.

“If the tests indicate there is any potential public health risk, Auckland Council will promptly erect warning signs in the relevant locations. These will only be removed once the water quality is assessed to be safe.”

Water samples are collected on a Tuesday or Wednesday, using a helicopter to help the team cover a large number of sites quickly and cost-effectively. The test results are available by the weekend via 0800 SAFESWIM (0800 723 379) and online at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/safeswim.

Generally, the water quality at Auckland’s swimming beaches is very good and meets New Zealand heath guidelines. However, if there is heavy rain, or if pollutants enter our waterways, this can quickly change.

People should wait 48 hours after heavy rain before swimming at the beach. They should also avoid swimming near stormwater outflows, stream and river mouths at all times, she says.

Remember, if you see any pollution please report it to the council’s pollution response team via 09 301 0101 or directly on our Pollution Hotline 09 377 3107.


Ends


Editors notes:
• Beaches are selected for monitoring on the basis of usage, risk and cultural significance.
• Details of all of the sites being monitored in 2012/13 are available online at www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/safeswim.
• Due to a history of poor water quality, permanent warnings are posted at Cox’s Bay, Meola Reef, Weymouth, Wairau Outlet and Little Oneroa Lagoon.

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