Water spots should be fine this season

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2013
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Most of Canterbury's popular swimming spots should be clear of water quality problems this summer.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has started weekly water quality testing at 51 river and lake sites and 45 popular coastal swimming spots from south of Waimate to north of Kaikoura.

The test results will be put on the ECan website weekly until mid-March.

ECan senior surface water quality scientist David Kelly said it was testing for E.coli and faecal indicators, and keeping an eye out for cyanobacteria mats, which can produce toxins that are harmful to humans, stock and dogs.

"Because contamination can cause a public health risk the indicators that we use are broad indicators . . . designed to try and protect public health."

The freshwater and coastal sites were graded from "very good" - considered satisfactory for swimming - to "very poor", which should not be swum in as there might be "direct discharges of faecal material" in the water.

Some of the best water quality for swimming is at Gore Bay, Woodend Beach, Waikuku Beach, Taylors Mistake and Mangamaunu.

Areas to be avoided include Waimakariri River Mouth and Kaiapoi River at the boat ramp.

Kelly said if a reading was high then it would be tested again that week. He said ECan would notify public health officials who decided on issuing public notices or put a warning sign up.

At the end of the testing season, the data would be used with previous information to give Canterbury sites a water quality grade.

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- The Press

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