Owhiro Bay beach closed

Owhiro Bay beach on Wellington's south coast has been closed for the third time in a month, after another possible sewage contamination was detected today.

Water-quality monitoring this week again found that the presence of enterococci - an indicator of microbiological pollution, including sewage - in the bay at a level likely to cause a health hazard, said Wellington City Council infrastructure planning manager Maria Archer.

The bacteria can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. Cuts and skin lesions can become infected and people are being urged to stay clear of the water in the area until further notice.

The repeated beach closures were "obviously frustrating", she said.

"The intermittent nature of the spikes in contamination levels also makes it harder to track the source down."

Ms Archer said council staff had located and fixed sewage leaks in streets at the top of the Owhiro Bay catchment.

They were now also inspecting the sewer main in Owhiro Parade and continuing to do tests and inspections along the Owhiro Stream.

If fractures were found they would be fixed as quickly as possible.

Staff were confident the source was not at the nearby Southern Landfill, she said.

NZPA