Council issues river warning

20:11, Jan 14 2013

Swimmers are being asked to avoid Nelson rivers in the wake of rain because of potential contamination from stormwater.

The Nelson City Council manager, monitoring and research, Martin Workman issued the warning today as further rain is forecast.

He says it is best not to swim in rivers for at least the first 36 hours after rainfall to minimise the risk of exposure to harmful bacteria.

Beaches in the area remain safe to swim in.

“The risk of catching a disease from swimming in clear, clean water is usually low, however when contamination levels are high following heavy rainfall there is an increased chance that you may catch a gut, ear, skin or respiratory infection," Mr Workman says.

“Our monitoring this summer has indicated that bathing sites in Nelson have maintained their ‘fair' to ‘good' bathing water quality. Sites categorised as ‘fair' and ‘good' are satisfactory for swimming in most of the time, except during or following periods of rainfall."

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A health warning remains in place for the lower Maitai River, below Collingwood Street Bridge and the Paremata Flats Reserve at Wakapuaka River, advising people not to swim there until further notice.

The areas have been rated as ‘very poor' due to contamination from stormwater, and raised levels of bacteria caused by livestock and birds respectively.

The council's 2012 bathing water quality ratings are at www.nelsoncitycouncil.co.nz.

Meanwhile, people are urged to avoid swimming themselves or their dogs in the Maitai River just downstream of the Maitai Camp due to moderate patches of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae), which are still present in the shallow areas.

Nelson