6 February 2019
Bega Valley Shire Council is urging the public to keep out of our waterways, with the heavy rain of the last few days impacting on the water quality in our rivers and estuaries and at the beaches.
Council’s Senior Environmental Health Officer, Myfanwy Appleton, said as the water may contain a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites stemming from catchment runoff, we advise the community to refrain from swimming, fishing, and irrigating for at least three days after heavy rain.
Experiences from past events have shown that the greatest risk of infection is bacteria picked up through cuts and abrasions,” Ms Appleton said.
“To prevent infection people should thoroughly wash their hands after contact with contaminated materials, wear boots and gloves, cover cuts or abrasions and ensure they do not come into contact with flood water or contaminated materials.
“People should also contact their GP if they are concerned about their health. As a precaution it’s best to treat all waterways as potentially being contaminated. If you cut yourself on something that has been contaminated, it is important to check with your GP about whether you need to receive a tetanus vaccination.
“Children especially should be kept away from these areas and all unnecessary contact with mud and water should be avoided.
“Ensure feet are covered if you are likely to be walking in mud and always wear gloves when handling affected items.
“We are aware that a number of people draw water from local creeks, streams and rivers for domestic use, including for drinking, and our advice is to boil water prior to use or preferably defer drawing water from affected areas all together until the water quality improves,” Ms Appleton said.
Photograph: Catchment runoff has impacted on the Shire’s waterways following the recent heavy rain.