Mostly safe to go back in the water

00:36, Jan 17 2013
oriental bay beach
SAFE: Most beaches in the Wellington region are once more safe for swimming after bacteria levels soared yesterday.

Wellington's water is safe for swimming again, apart from at one site at Island Bay beach.

Greater Wellington regional council yesterday warned people not to swim at Lyall Bay, Island Bay, Sorrento Bay, Rona Bay and Riversdale Lagoon due to unsafe levels of enterococci bacteria that washed out during persistent rain.

Many areas around Porirua were also not recommended for swimming, as high levels of bacteria had been measured.

Greater Wellington senior environmental scientist Summer Greenfield said preliminary samples this morning showed most were now within acceptable limits.

Confirmed results were due back later this afternoon, she said.

The council monitors three sites in Island Bay. One site at Island Bay beach was still at unsafe levels this morning.

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As a rule of thumb, people should stay clear of beaches that had storm water outlets for 48 hours after heavy rain, when the likes of dog faeces, rubbish, and cigarette butts washed from streets into the water.

While the heaviest rain on Tuesday fell in the morning, it continued to rain in Wellington through the day.

Ms Greenfield said enterococci bacteria itself was not harmful but its presence often indicated the presence of other harmful bacteria such as E coli, campylobacter and salmonella.

For a regularly updated list of bacteria affected beaches, see the regional council's website.

The Dominion Post