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Swimming warning for Wairoa River

1 December 2004

Swimming warning for Wairoa River, Lake Tutira and Waipuka Stream due to contaminated water

Hawke’s Bay’s District Health Board medical officer of health, Dr Caroline McElnay, today issued a warning, advising members of the public not to swim in the Wairoa River, Lake Tutira and Waipuka Stream, at Ocean Beach, due to contamination.

Dr McElnay says monitoring by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council identified high levels of E.coli in water samples taken on 29th and 30th November. “The levels significantly exceeded the maximum levels recommended in the Ministries of Health and Environments Recreational Water Guidelines”. The level of these bacteria indicates excessive amounts of either animal or human faecal matter in the water.

With the current dry weather it may be tempting to “hit” the water, however 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; 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.

As a general rule any 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 make the sea contaminated as well.

ENDS


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