DHB warns of swim­ming risk at North­land beaches

Nom­i­na­tions open for the by-elec­tion

The Northland Age - - Local News - SWIM­MERS BE­WARE

Heavy rain ear­lier this month has re­sulted in bac­te­rial con­tam­i­na­tion at a num­ber of pop­u­lar swim­ming and seafood gath­er­ing lo­ca­tions in North­land.

The North­land Re­gional Coun­cil mon­i­tors most of the re­gion’s pop­u­lar swim­ming spots from Novem­ber un­til the end of March.

North­land DHB Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health Dr Jose Ortega Ben­ito said re­cent test­ing had in­di­cated the pres­ence of bac­te­ria in a num­ber of lo­ca­tions, prompt­ing warn­ings against swim­ming or gath­er­ing shell­fish.

“It is im­por­tant to note that the test re­sults are only a snap­shot of con­di­tions at the time of test­ing, and if there has been heavy rain since, it’s likely the wa­ter qual­ity will be worse,” he said. It was also un­wise to col­lect shell­fish af­ter heavy rain, which could flush sewage over­flow or farm run-off down­stream.

Shell­fish should be safe to col­lect af­ter the wa­ter has run clear for a few days, he said.

The DHB’s ad­vice was not to swim for 48 hours af­ter heavy rain (more than 10mm in 24 hours), to read signs at rivers and beaches care­fully, and not to en­ter the wa­ter if signs ad­vised against swim­ming

Salt wa­ter was gen­er­ally safer than fresh wa­ter, due to the pathogen-killing ef­fect of salt.

For bac­te­ria and viruses, the sea was usu­ally safer than a lake or river.

Mov­ing wa­ter was also gen­er­ally safer than still wa­ter, so a river would

■ usu­ally be safer than a lake, and sea wa­ter on an open coast safer than a har­bour.

“Even if there are no warn­ing signs there may still be some Ben­ito said.

“Use com­mon sense, as a range of en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors can af­fect the qual­ity of recre­ational wa­ter.

“Con­sider what might flow into the area you in­tend to swim in, such as stormwa­ter from out­fall pipes, stormwa­ter run-off, stock waste, fail­ing sep­tic tanks and boats emp­ty­ing their toi­lets.

“Look at the wa­ter for signs of con­tam­i­na­tion, such stag­nant, muddy or cloudy wa­ter.

“If the wa­ter is cloudy, there is vis­i­ble scum, an odd smell or colour, or you can­not see your feet in kneedeep wa­ter, it may not be safe to swim.”

risk,” Dr With the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil’s Bay of Is­lands/Whangaroa Ward by-elec­tion won by Kelly Strat­ford, an­other can­di­date is now needed to fill the va­cancy she has left in the com­mu­nity board’s Kawakawa/ Mo­erewa Sub­di­vi­sion.

Nom­i­na­tions opened yes­ter­day, with the only cri­te­ria that they must be New Zealand cit­i­zens and en­rolled to vote some­where in New Zealand.

Can­di­dates must also be nom­i­nated by two peo­ple who are reg­is­tered on the elec­toral roll within the Kawakawa/Mo­erewa Sub­di­vi­sion.

Nom­i­na­tions close Wed­nes­day March 28.

Nom­i­na­tion pa­pers can be ob­tained from the dis­trict coun­cil’s Kawakawa ser­vice cen­tre, the elec­toral of­fice (Elec­tion Ser­vices, Level 2, 198 Fed­eral Street, Auck­land), down­loaded from www.fndc.govt.nz, or by phon­ing 0800 922-822.

If there is more than one nom­i­na­tion, vot­ing packs will be de­liv­ered to around 2500 el­i­gi­ble elec­tors from May 2.

Vot­ing will close at noon on May 24.

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ALL DOWN­HILL: Stormwa­ter might not be a prob­lem in Kaitaia just at the mo­ment but it will be again soon enough, and the Far North Dis­trict Coun­cil will be ready for it in Bank St, Kaitaia. Coun­cil con­trac­tors have shifted a large quan­tity of soil to...

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