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Wellington beaches safe once more

Last updated 11:37 08/02/2013

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Preliminary tests have shown Wellington's beaches are once again safe for swimming.

Regional water quality samples were taken yesterday and analysed in a laboratory today after Monday's downpour saw unsafe levels of bacteria at many of the capital's coastal areas.

Greater Wellington Regional Council senior environmental Scientist Summer Greenfield said preliminary tests showed bacteria levels had returned to safe levels at all beaches in the region.

Owhiro Bay, Island Bay, Seatoun Beach, Worser Bay, Scorching Bay, Mahanga Bay, Shark Bay, Hataitai Beach, Plimmerton Beach and the Hutt River, south of Silverstream were declared unsafe for swimming from tests taken on Monday.

The council's general warning is to not swim anywhere for 48 hours after heavy rain.

''In heavy rain, there's a much increased chance of a sewer overflow. We were notified, in Wellington city, Porirua and the Hutt, there were a number [of sewer overflows] that occurred over that Monday and Tuesday period ... plus whatever has accumulated on the streets over [the preceding] dry period,'' Ms Greenfield said.

Water quality tests measure levels of enterococci bacteria, which indicated the presence of other bacteria that pose a risk to human health, such as campylobacter and salmonella, which are too expensive to monitor.

Contact Olivia Wannan
General reporter

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