Water quality warning at inner city riverside site

A health warning is in place for the Riverside Park section of Blenheim's Taylor River.
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A health warning is in place for the Riverside Park section of Blenheim's Taylor River.

Hazardous water quality levels in the Riverside Park section of the Taylor River could be caused by earthquake damage to stormwater and sewerage pipes.

The site in central Blenheim has been off limits to swimmers for the past week after higher than normal E.coli levels were found from water samples taken by Marlborough District Council staff.

Council senior environmental water quality and ecology scientist Peter Hamill said water samples taken from the river on January 4 showed 650 parts E.coli per 100 millilitres of water.

The accepted level is 550.

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As a result council staff placed caution signs along the Taylor River warning the public of water contamination near the railway bridge, he said.

Further samples taken on January 6 showed lower levels of contamination but council staff decided to leave the warning sign up as extra precaution, he said.

Results from a third sampling taken on January 9 will be known Thursday, he said.

If the water quality is reduced to acceptable levels the caution sign will be removed, he said.

"There is the potential of earthquake damage to stormwater and sewerage pipes which is causing cross contamination of faecal matter into the river water," he said.

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Since 2012 water samples have been regularly taken from 55 sites along the Taylor River and its main tributaries to test for a range of physical, biological and chemical parameters, the council website showed.

Faecal-source tracking had identified animal, wildfowl and human discharges with the latter traced back to crossed sewage and stormwater pipes which could then be fixed.

Last year the Riverside Park was listed as having the worst water quality contamination of 21 public swimming sites in the region.

Momorangi Bay and Rai Valley Falls have also been issued with caution notices for water quality but levels at both sites were considered acceptable for swimming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 - The Marlborough Express

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