Pollution Alert - Swimmers Stay Clear of Island Bay Beach

9 December 2009

Island Bay Beach has been closed to the public for swimming as a result of high bacterial counts taken from water at the beach.

Routine water quality monitoring earlier this week found that the presence of enterococci - an indicator of microbiological pollution, including sewage - in Island Bay was at a level that could cause a health hazard. Daily sampling has since found that the levels remain high.

Wellington City Council has closed the beach following consultation with Regional Public Health staff and is urging people to stay clear of the water in the area until further notice.

The Council's Infrastructure Planning Manager, Maria Archer, says the source of the contamination is not obvious and Council engineers are urgently checking all mains in the area.

Medical Officer of Health Dr Annette Nesdale says the presence of enterococci in the water indicates it is unsuitable for swimming or recreational contact. Health problems that can be associated with the ingestion of contaminated water include diarrhoea, stomach cramps and vomiting. In addition to this, cuts and skin lesions can become infected.