Byron Council’s environmental health officer, David Bell, on the job collecting water samples for testing.
Byron Council’s environmental health officer, David Bell, on the job collecting water samples for testing.

Water quality to be monitored

Byron Council is joining the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water’s (DECCW) Beachwatch Partnership Program and is monitoring and reporting on the water quality at popular swimming sites this summer.

The council’s environmental health officer, David Bell, said 10 swimming sites stretching from Suffolk Park to Ocean Shores/New Brighton would be monitored in accordance with DECCW Beachwatch protocols.

Mr Bell said the council was monitoring for bacteria known as enterococci which indicated if water was polluted with stormwater or sewage and might be unsafe for swimming.

He said the sites to be monitored would be The Strand, South Beach Brunswick Heads, Torakina Beach, Simpsons Creek, Belongil Beach, Tallow Beach Suffolk Park, Tallow Beach Byron Bay, Wategos Beach, Clarks Beach and Main Beach Byron Bay.

DECCW Beachwatch program manager, Cris Hickey, welcomed the council to the Beachwatch Partnership Program and congratulated it for its commitment to keeping an eye on water quality.

“The North Coast is justly renowned for its spectacular beaches, bays and estuaries,” she said.

“These swimming spots are usually as clean as they are beautiful.

“However, people need to be confident about the quality of the water they’re swimming in. They need informed advice about potential health impacts and whether it might be sensible to avoid swimming at certain times, such as when the Brunswick River is in flood.

“While most coastal swimming sites enjoy excellent water quality, stormwater pollution can be a problem after rain. As a general rule, we encourage people to avoid swimming for a day after rainfall at coastal beaches, and for up to three days in estuarine areas.”

Mr Bell said there were many things the community could do to complement the work being conducted by the council.

“By placing litter in the bin, composting garden waste and not using the hose as a broom, we can all help ensure pollution stays out of the stormwater and our waterways remain clean,” he said.

“Check out the results for your local swimming site on the DECCW website at www.environment.nsw.gov.au/beach/starratingsbyron.htm.”

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