Check before swimming at Waikawa, December 2021

Horizons Regional Council are warning everyone to be careful around river and beach swim spots this summer: Swimmers advised to take care before diving in (23 December 2021, 11:23 AM). They say:

Horizons Regional Council’s swim spot monitoring results have shown many river and beach sites are currently not suitable for swimming or collecting kai following the recent heavy rainfall and flooding across the region.

Indicators that determine the grading for swim spots, which is E.coli for freshwater sites and Enterococci at coastal sites, can increase significantly with high rainfall as contaminants from urban and rural settings are washed into waterways. …

“This week Waikawa, Himatangi and Foxton beaches have also all returned one sample showing high levels of Enteroccoci. They are now being resampled with results expected tomorrow night and if a second high Enterococci result is returned, they will be closed as well. …

“Enterococci is a naturally occurring bacteria found in the gut of humans and animals and at high levels indicates a health risk to people when swimming or participating in other water related activities.

“If the coastal swim spots council monitors for contact recreation returns a result greater than 280 Enterococci per 100mL the swim spot is resampled within 24 hours following Ministry of Health guidelines.”

It’s so unusual for the water quality at our Tasman Sea site (just north of the river mouth) to be poor that we don’t usually keep tabs on it. The graph for measurements from the last 5 years shows only 3 readings that aren’t green — all from December 2021.

Tasman Sea readings.
Tasman Sea readings.

Meanwhile, readings at the footbridge that have been high, have dropped again.

Footbridge readings, this season.
Footbridge readings, this season.

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