Swimming in sewage

Last updated 13:00 17/01/2013
Tahunanui Beach
DONNA DAVISON/FAIRFAX NZ

UNSUSPECTING: Rachel and Timothy Hodgson’s parents did not realise Tahunanui Beach is out of bounds.

Tahunanui Beach
DONNA DAVISON/FAIRFAX NZ
SEWAGE ALERT: Swimming at Nelson Haven is banned after a large sewage spill on Sunday.

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Tahunanui Beach closed after sewage spill

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A swimming ban at Tahunanui Beach following a sewage spill in the recent heavy rain was not enough to stop some people from having a dip yesterday.

The Nelson City Council banned swimming at Tahunanui Beach and Monaco Boat Ramp until tomorrow morning due to sewage overflows following heavy rain. Overflows occurred at the Nelson Regional Sewerage pump stations at Beach Rd and Saxton Rd on Tuesday following heavy rainfall.

Council roading and solid waste manager Shane Davies said the council was taking a precautionary approach and had closed Tahunanui Beach and Monaco Boat Ramp to minimise health risks following advice from the Medical Officer of Health.

He said Tuesday's heavy rain had overloaded the sewer system which had overflowed into the Waimea Inlet.

Emergency closure signage was installed advising the public to avoid swimming in these areas. The signage was expected to be removed around 8am tomorrow.

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

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

The Nelson Mail visited the beach at 1.30pm yesterday and there were at least six people swimming at different points on the beach. There was no sign on the path leading from the Beach Cafe, but there was a sign near the cold water shower in the area.

The Nelson Mail approached a family of young children playing in the water. They had seen the council sign warning of the sewage spill but thought it applied to the Waimea Estuary.

Another young woman who was swimming with her friends said she had not seen the signs but was not bothered by the warning.

Christchurch visitors Mike and Rowyn Barnett and Darryl and Carmen Hodgson said they had not seen the signs, which they said was "pretty piss poor" on the council's behalf.

The Hodgsons' children, Rachel and Timothy, were swimming and playing with an inflatable dinghy.

Their parents got them out of the water after hearing of the sewage spill. Rachel said she felt a "bit yucky" as she had inadvertently drunk some of the sea water. Mr Hodgson said the council could have done with more signage.

Mr Davies said the council had arranged to have a Nelmac worker on the beach today to remind people of the swimming ban.

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- The Nelson Mail

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