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Swimming warnings throughout Hawke’s Bay


M E D I A R E L E A S E

22 January 2004

Heavy rain causes swimming warnings throughout Hawke’s Bay

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.

Waterways that are known to currently contain high levels of bacteria include:

- The Tukituki River, at SH2 Waipukurau
- The Tukituki River, at Black Bridge
- Blackhead Beach
- The Kairakau Lagoon
- Kairakau Beach
- Puhokio Stream, at Waimarama
- Waimarama Beach
- Waipuka Stream, at Ocean Beach
- The Maraetotara Lagoon, at Te Awanga
- The Clive River

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.

All surface water should be assessed before swimming by checking the water clarity, evaluating the number of animals and water birds in or near the swimming point.

The safety of water can change rapidly following heavy rain and it is recommended that three days of fine weather should pass before swimming at any river, lagoon or estuary. Extremely heavy rainfall can also make the sea contaminated as well, as can be seen in the list of known contaminated waterways above.

The Public Health Unit recommends that people phone the Safe Swimming Line for the latest water quality results before they set off for a day in or on the water. The number is (06) 878-1368 and the line is updated regularly with information on sites that are contaminated.

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

ENDS

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