Beaches under microscope

16:00, Jan 13 2014
Cheltenham Beach
ALL GOOD: Devonport’s Cheltenham Beach is one of the North Shore beaches being tested weekly for bacteria levels this summer.

You wouldn't eat at an E-graded restaurant so why would you swim in water of the same quality?

Potentially harmful bacteria is being tested in North Shore waters over summer with a reminder to steer clear of Wairau Creek.

A permanent warning about the Milford outlet is posted because of ongoing historical water quality issues and high levels of bacteria there, Auckland Council says.

Cheltenham Beach, Devonport and Kendall Bay, located in Birkenhead's Kauri Point Centennial Park, have very low levels of bacteria.

Long Bay, the East Coast Bays beaches, Milford, Takapuna, Beach Haven and Narrow Neck are monitored through the council water quality project, called Safeswim.

Weekly water samples are collected using helicopter equipment and the public health risk is measured.

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Safeswim testing runs until March. Auckland's 69 most popular beaches and freshwater spots are included.

Environmental health manager Mervyn Chetty, says the city's beaches are clean and safe 99 per cent of the time.

"But sometimes stormwater and sewage overflows, caused by occasional heavy rain, can cause higher levels of bacteria."

Avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rainfall, including high risk areas such as stormwater outlets and stream mouths, Mr Chetty says.

The public is asked to obey any signs warning against swimming.

Check results before hitting the beach by calling 0800 SAFESWIM (0800 723 379) or visit aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/safeswim.

North Shore Times