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Double check before you dip

Press Release 04 December 2007

Double check before you dip

With summer temperatures here to stay, it’s important to check recreational water is safe before taking the plunge.

Toi Te Ora – Public Health and Environment Bay of Plenty work together to ensure local rivers, lakes and beaches have high water quality. Annual monitoring is underway until March.

Most of the time water quality meets health guidelines but occasionally contamination occurs, mainly during or shortly after rainfall. The contaminants, which include human and animal faecal matter, can enter our waterways through urban and rural storm water runoff.

“It’s best to avoid recreational water for 48 hours after rainfall that leads to any discolouration of the water,” says Health Protection Officer Annaka Davis. “Let the waters clear for a day or so to avoid increased exposure to faecal contamination, which can cause gut, ear, skin or respiratory infections.”

Water monitoring is based on guidelines released by the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health. These identify alert levels, ranging from ‘green’ (unlikely to be contaminated) to ‘amber’ (potentially contaminated) to ‘red’ (likely to be contaminated).

“If testing indicates a monitored recreational water site is ‘red’, we advise the public that the site is temporarily unsuitable for recreational use and warning signs will be erected by the local authority,” says Ms Davis.

Permanent warning signs are in place for Two and Three Mile Creeks (Waihi Beach) and Waimapu Stream (Tauranga) and there is a permanent warning sign on the Wairoa River at McLarens Falls and the Bethlehem road bridge reminding people not to swim 48 hours after rainfall.

To check out water quality in your favourite swimming spot go to: or


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