Wellington Scoop

Owhiro Bay pollution warning is lifted – the water is safe for swimming again

News from Wellington City Council
The City Council has today removed pollution-warning signs from Owhiro Bay beach after testing confirmed water quality in the bay has returned to levels safe for swimming and other recreational use.

The beach closed yesterday after a routine water-quality test revealed unsafe levels of bacteria. Since then the City Council has done a thorough check of the bay’s large catchment, which includes Owhiro Stream and a number of tributaries, and stretches as far north as the Brooklyn area.

The Council’s Infrastructure Manager, Haydn Read, says investigations into the cause of the pollution are continuing.

“At this stage we believe the likely source is contaminated water from streets and gutters washing into the sea, which is often the case after rainfall,” says Mr Read.

News from Wellington City Council – March 14
Pollution-warning signs are being erected on and around Owhiro Bay beach this afternoon following the detection of possible sewage contamination in the waters of the bay.

The City Council is urging people to stay clear of the water in the area until further notice.

Water-quality monitoring in the past two days found that the presence of enterococci – a bacteria and indicator of microbiological pollution, including sewage – in Owhiro Bay at a level likely to cause a health hazard.

The Council has taken the action following consultation with Regional Public Health staff.

City Council Infrastructure Manager Haydn Read says the source of the contamination is not obvious. Water samples are being taken at various points in the Owhiro Stream and local sewer mains are being checked as a matter of urgency.

The presence of enterococci in the water indicates it is unsuitable for swimming or recreational contact. Health problems that can be associated with the ingestion of contaminated water include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. In addition, cuts and skin lesions can become infected.