Summer Checks Of Swimming Spots Begin
23 November 2007
Summer checks of popular swimming spots throughout Manukau for the season have started again.
People can check the water quality at their local beach online before going swimming or collecting.
Manukau City Council is carrying out weekly water quality tests, the results of which will be on its website. Bathers can check at the click of a mouse whether beaches are safe for swimming or best avoided.
Environmental scientist Sarah Sycamore says the council looks for bacteria which might indicate the presence of faecal contamination and other viruses that can cause illness. Unlucky swimmers could develop anything from eye infections to gastroenteritis.
“Stormwater, treated wastewater and river discharges can all make their way into the marine environment. These may carry viruses such as E. coli as well as faecal coliforms, and at high levels these may cause illness through contact with open wounds or by swallowing water or eating contaminated shellfish.”
Quality is also likely to be lower after heavy rainfall when run-off from the area is washed into the water. “As a general rule people should wait at least 24 hours after heavy rainfall, before going back to the beach.
Ms Sycamore says people should steer clear of stormwater outlets or the streams and ponds they can create, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
To check out your local beach go to www.manukau.govt.nz and type ‘beach water quality’ into the search function.