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Advice for Kāpiti swimmers this summer

Press Release – Kapiti District Council

The Kpiti Coast District Council has worked with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to update their advice for swimmers this summer.The Kāpiti Coast District Council has worked with the Greater Wellington Regional Council to update their advice for swimmers this summer.

Kāpiti Coast District Council Regulatory Services Manager Natasha Tod, says current advice is to steer clear of river and stream mouths at the beach, and anywhere the water looks murky of there’s a lot of debris.

“Over the past few weeks, our test results have shown fluctuating levels of bacteria, which at times have been higher than usual. We haven’t had enough heavy or constant rain to flush out the streams and stormwater channels of rotted vegetation, and other debris which contains bacteria.

This means there’s an increased risk of getting sick with things like tummy bugs if you swim near stream and river mouths at the beach, particularly for the very young, old or vulnerable groups.”

The Council regularly monitors beaches and rivers in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council. Monitoring results are posted on the Greater Wellington website and their interactive map is the best way to check if the water quality at your favourite swimming spot is safe to swim in http://www.gw.govt.nz/is-it-safe-to-swim/.

“The information we released over the long weekend was as a result of these fluctuating levels of bacteria on different days and at different sites, and the advice was a precautionary measure to let people know about the increased risk. This risk is likely to continue throughout the hot summer months until we get a decent amount of rain. At times there can be a small delay in getting these results up on the interactive map,” said Ms Tod.

Advice for swimmers:

• Be aware of the increased risk, particularly for vulnerable groups.
• Wait two days after rain before you swim again – heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into our waterways and we strongly advise you not to swim for at least two days (48hrs) after heavy or prolonged rainfall – even if a site generally has good water quality.
• If you do chose to go against this advice and swim at the beach after rain, avoid putting your head under and supervise toddlers to ensure they do not swallow water.
• Check GW’s interactive map for warnings before you head out.
• Avoid swimming in streams – as a general rule of thumb, we don’t recommend swimming in streams or where streams and rivers come out at the beach, especially during hot summer months.
Signage will only go up if a red/action trigger level is reached – if test results show that the water quality has reached ‘red/action’ trigger level, then the water poses an unacceptable health risk from swimming.

For more information about where and what we monitor for, and detailed recreational water info, visit http://www.gw.govt.nz/water-quality-faqs/

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