Check online if it's safe to swim
As we splash into the swimming season and experience heavy rainfall, Greater Wellington is urging the community to check if it's safe to swim on Land Air Water Aotearoa's (LAWA) website under the 'Can I swim here' section.
Greater Wellington senior environmental advisor Dr Sheryl Miller says, "It's really important water users check online if it's safe to swim, as this has the most reliable and up to date information, rather than referring to the long term grades of a site.
"These online alerts reflect the conditions of the site on a particular day, so it will tell you if there are changes in the water quality due to weather and incidents.
"Even if swimming spots have typically excellent water quality they can experience spikes in faecal contamination, especially after heavy rainfall like we've seen recently.
"To keep safe, we recommend people avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rainfall, this gives sufficient time for contaminants to be flushed away," says Dr Miller.
In Wellington, 12 sites have 'poor' long term grades, which means that they have higher levels of contamination 5 percent or more of the time.
A 'poor' long term grade for a site does not necessarily mean the community shouldn't swim there, but it does indicate there is a higher risk of illness to swimmers than a site with a better grade.
Greater Wellington monitors and reports on 88 freshwater and coastal sites throughout the region to predict their water quality risk status. This programme uses a 'risk-based model' to predict how safe it is to swim at a spot in real-time and produce up-to-date alerts twice a day.
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