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Clean water = safe swimming

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bayside’s beaches have been given the all clear by the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) after last weekend’s heavy rains.

The EPA regulates pollution in Victoria and has the lead role in monitoring and reporting bacterial water quality in Port Phillip Bay.

The EPA tests water quality at least weekly at 36 bay beaches from 1 December 2017 to 12 March 2018 and issues Beach Report forecasts.

Twice a week, a forecast of ‘Good’, ‘Fair’, ‘Poor’ or ‘Unacceptable is given for each beach including Half Moon Bay, Beaumaris, Brighton and Sandringham beaches in Bayside:

  • Good predicts that recreational water quality is suitable for swimming
  • Fair means that recreational water quality is good but could be affected by rainfall particularly if the beach is close to a stormwater outlet
  • Poor is a warning which means you should avoid contact with the water.

The water samples are tested for enterococci, a group of bacteria found inside warm-blooded animals. Enterococci is recognised as the best indicator in measuring faecal contamination of marine recreational waters.

When water quality is found to be unacceptable, the EPA will issue an unacceptable water quality alert on its website, Twitter and through the media.

If water quality at a beach within the Bayside municipality is found to be unacceptable, the EPA also advises Council.

Council will then install signs advising visitors that water quality is unacceptable due to high bacterial levels and not suitable for swimming.

To find out whether an advisory has been issued for a particular Bayside beach, check the EPA's Alerts page. Alternatively, you can check Twitter @EPA Victoria or register for SMS notifications here.

Lifesaving clubs also have signs to inform swimmers of water quality forecasts and other water conditions for swimming over weekends and public holidays.

No matter the temperature, EPA advises to avoid swimming near stormwater or river outlets 24-48 hours after heavy rain. Recreational users should always check for signs of stormwater pollution before swimming e.g. stormwater drains flowing, discoloured water, odour, rubbish and debris along the water’s edge. The EPA may extend the Beach Report season if there are seasonal outlooks for warmer than average temperatures.

For more information, go to http://yarraandbay.vic.gov.au/beach-report

*information sourced from EPA Beach Report website