Dir­ti­est swim­ming spots re­vealed

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

There ain’t no cure for the sum­mer­time poos.

Peo­ple again risked min­gling with hu­man sewage over sum­mer in two Welling­ton bays, it was re­vealed in the an­nual re­port card on re­gional swim­ming spots.

Is­land Bay and Owhiro Bay re­ceived D grades in Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil’s re­port, an­nounced on Thurs­day, which means peo­ple had a greater than 10 per cent chance of be­com­ing ill from swim­ming there. Three Porirua ar­eas also re­ceived the same grade.

Se­nior en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist Sum­mer Green­field said the Welling­ton bays had been the city’s prob­lem spots for sev­eral years.

‘‘We’ve done a few in­ves­ti­ga­tions at Owhiro Bay in par­tic­u­lar, and sewage con­tam­i­na­tion is def­i­nitely an is­sue there ... and sim­i­lar for Is­land Bay.’’

The hu­man sewage was not nec­es­sar­ily vis­i­ble to the naked eye, with the con­tam­i­na­tion of­ten com­ing from leak­ing sewer lines high in the catch­ment.

Porirua’s worst sites are the south end of Ti­tahi Bay, Plim­mer­ton Beach and western Onepoto in Porirua Har­bour.

The best sites are Pukerua Bay, Kare­hana Bay, One­hunga Bay and the en­trance to Pau­ata­hanui In­let, which have an over­all grade of B and a low risk of ill­ness.

There were ‘‘re­ally quite high’’ bac­te­ria counts in all the D-grade bays af­ter rain­fall, so the coun­cil urged peo­ple not to swim for a cou­ple of days after­wards.

Green­field said mon­i­tor­ing of all pop­u­lar swim­ming spots was done weekly dur­ing sum­mer.

It mea­sured the amount of bac­te­ria that make peo­ple sick, like campy­lobac­ter and gi­a­r­dia, in rivers and beaches.

Rain­fall made wa­ter qual­ity worse, she said, so the dry sum­mer made for bet­ter wa­ter qual­ity in gen­eral.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil spokesman Richard MacLean said the coun­cil was un­der­tak­ing rolling sewer main up­grades in the bay ar­eas.

The coun­cil worked with Greater Welling­ton on the prob­lem – when bac­te­rial spikes were de­tected, the city coun­cil looked to hunt down sewer MacLean said.

One of the best wa­ter qual­ity spots is Princess Bay, in Houghton Bay, which re­ceived an A grade mean­ing there was ‘‘very low risk’’ or less than 1 per cent chance of get­ting sick from the wa­ter.

The re­gion’s other D-graded swim­ming spots are in the lower reaches of the Hutt River, Wainuiomata River, and Wairarapa’s Ruama­hanga River and Rivers­dale La­goon.

How­ever, the dry sum­mer of 2015 and 2016 meant that wa­ter qual­ity was gen­er­ally bet­ter. leaks,

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