Health warning reminder on sewage discharge after heavy rain

Press Release – Canterbury DHB

The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board is reminding people to avoid beaches and rivers, following the heavy rain that fell across the region earlier this week.21 October 2011

Health warning reminder about sewage discharge after heavy rain

The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board is reminding people to avoid beaches and rivers, following the heavy rain that fell across the region earlier this week.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the heavy rain on Tuesday night and Wednesday is likely to result in added pressure on an already weakened sewerage system.

“People should avoid rivers and the beaches for at least two days after heavy rain,” Dr Humphrey says.

“This means it’s not safe to drink water from rivers or use the river or estuary for recreational use such as swimming, boating or fishing.”

There are still sewage discharges into the Estuary/Ihutai, the Avon/Otakaro and Heathcote/Opawaho rivers and at Scarborough Beach. Tests show these sites contain high levels of human pathogens, such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Clostridium, Campylobacter, E.coli and viruses.

“It is still important not to go in the water in the rivers or the estuary, or between Cave Rock and Scarborough,” Dr Humphrey says.

“It is likely to be at least another month before these discharges have stopped and the water has become safe, but hopefully surfers and others should be able to use the Scarborough waves over the summer holidays.”

For more information about recreational water quality visit the Environment Canterbury website: http://ecan.govt.nz/services/online-services/monitoring/Pages/water-contamination-christchurch-post-22-feb-2011-earthquake.aspx

ENDS

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