Aucklanders who go to the beach today have more choice than yesterday, after the warnings for some of the most popular places in the city were lifted – but one local favorite was issued a rare black mark after the recent sewage spill.
According to the Safesvim website of the Auckland Council, much of the North Coast is now considered safe, as is most of the Hibiscus coast.
But Point Chevalier Beach today poses a “very high risk of bathing disease” following a recent spill.
Several other beaches in Auckland are still considered “high risk” today, including St Heliers and Kawakawa Bay, but the vast majority are rated as safe.
The situation is a huge improvement over yesterday, which had widespread warnings after torrential rains and storms attacked Auckland over the weekend, putting stress on parts of storm and wastewater networks.
The classification of the red warning was initiated by a direct measure of indicator fecal bacteria, enterococci, in water.
It means more than a 2 percent chance of getting sick from swimming on the beach.
The black warning, which currently includes Point Chevalier Beach, indicates a “very high risk” of swimming disease and means that the water is directly contaminated with human feces, not just Enterococci bacteria that could come from the intestines of any animal.
National Environment spokesman Scott Simpson has called for a formal investigation into the condition of beaches in Auckland.
“It’s a frightening state of affairs that has only gotten worse in the last three years. In many cases, this pollution is pouring directly into the already endangered Hauraki Bay,” Simpson said.
“The fact that even every tenth person who bathes on popular beaches in Auckland will probably get sick emphasizes how polluted those beaches are.
“The sad thing is that people are once again missing the opportunity to swim during the peak of the summer holidays.”
According to the Safesvim website, their water quality forecasts take into account rain, wind, tide, sunlight and beach type.
They were constructed using high-frequency targeted sampling in addition to historical monitoring results, and are supported by the best available meteorological data, including rain radar readings and a wide network of rain gauges.
Forecasts are completely canceled if sensors detect unforeseen events – such as dry water spills – that are likely to pose a risk to public health.
Safesvim oversees an independent panel of public health and water quality experts and is required to meet performance standards adopted by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Beaches in the Auckland region proved to be a popular spot on Tuesday, with temperatures of 27C.
Another boomer day is forecast for Wednesday, with a maximum of 25C during the day, and overnight ‘lowest’ 17C.
Paeroa had a national high of 29.9C on Tuesday, while Hamilton hit 27C.
For the environment, good weather is forecast for most of the North Island and the Marlborough and Nelson regions.
The showers could hit most other areas of the South Island on Wednesday. But good news for cricket fans, a rain-free day is forecast for Christchurch for the ongoing second test between the Black Caps and Pakistan.