Owhiro Bay Reopens with Clean Bill of Health

26 April 2010

Wellington City Council has removed pollution-warning signs from Owhiro Bay beach after testing this week confirmed water quality in the bay has returned to levels safe for swimming and other recreational use.

The beach has been closed since mid-February after regular summer water-quality tests revealed unsafe levels of bacteria associated with sewage contamination.

Since then the City Council has done a thorough check of the bay's large catchment, which includes Owhiro Stream and a number of tributaries, and stretches as far north as the Brooklyn area.

A number of broken sections of sewer main, both Council-owned and on private property, were found and have been repaired.

The Council's Infrastructure Planning Manager, Maria Archer, says water quality in the bay has been within an acceptable level for the past two weeks - hence the decision to pull down the warning signs and give the all-clear.  

She says it has been a long and frustrating process for the Council staff and contractors who have been tasked with finding and fixing the leaks. "The water-quality monitoring has showed that the contamination levels have "spiked' a number of times and then returned to safe levels - which makes it more difficult to trace faults.

"We hope we've now got the problem fixed - and we thank the people of Owhiro Bay for their patience."

Ms Archer says water-quality monitoring will continue regularly in the area.