Tahunanui Beach closed

Last updated 10:21 17/01/2013

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Swimming has been banned at Nelson’s popular Tahunanui Beach until Friday morning after sewage overflows following Tuesday’s heavy rain.

The Port Nelson Sea Swim event, scheduled to take place on Thursday evening, has also been cancelled due to sewage contamination in the Nelson Haven.

The Nelson Marlborough District Health Board Medical officer of Health has advised that there should be no swimming in the Nelson Haven until Friday.

The sewage discharge on Tuesday morning was significant and there is concern at the risk of contracting norovirus or other infections from the contaminated water.

Swimming off the Monaco boat ramp area has also been halted.

The Nelson City Council says sewage overflows occurred at pump stations at Beach Road and Saxton Road yesterday following heavy rainfall.

Nelson City Council’s manager roading and solid waste, Shane Davies,  says the council is closing Tahunanui Beach and the Monaco Boat Ramp to swimmers to minimise health risks following advice from the Medical Officer of Health.

The council moves are a precautionary approach.

"Unfortunately, yesterday’s heavy rain overloaded the sewer system, which overflowed into the Waimea Inlet," Mr Davies says.

Emergency closure signage is being installed advising the public to avoid swimming in these areas. The bathing ban signage is expected to be removed around 8am on Friday.

Recreational activities such as walking or jogging along Tahunanui Beach, and using the boat ramp at Monaco are still permitted.

The council says shellfish should not be collected from these areas, or from the Nelson Harbour as a permanent ban is in place.

The Tasman District Council is also advising people not to swim in the local rivers or the sea for at least 48 hours following yesterday’s deluge.

It says the amount of rain received in the last 24 hours has the ability to wash disease-causing organisms off the land and stir them up out of stream beds and stormwater systems, and dump them into the popular swimming spots.

Generally, if you can’t see your toes in knee-deep water don’t swim, the council says

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- The Nelson Mail

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