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Bega Valley Shire CouncilBega Valley Shire Council

Beachwatch

What is Beachwatch?

Each year from December to March Council monitors and reports on water quality of 14 popular local swimming areas, including ocean beaches, lagoon sites and tidal baths/rock pools.

These sites are monitored weekly for Enterococci, a group of bacteria which indicates if water is polluted by stormwater or sewage surcharge and if the area is unsuitable for swimming.

Results of Beachwatch monitoring are updated weekly on the Council and Beachwatch websites to keep residents and visitors informed of the water quality and whether to avoid swimming at certain times.

The Program aims to provide regular and reliable information on recreational water quality to enable the community to make informed decisions about where and when to swim.

The rating categories are derived from the microbial assessment categories used in the National Health & Medical Research Council (2008) Guidelines.

Explanation of ratings

Enterococci (cfu/100ml) category  Rating Description Meaning 
< 41  **** Good Suitable for swimming
41 - 200  *** Fair Still suitable for swimming
201 - 500  ** Poor Not suitable for swimming
> 500  * Bad Not suitable for swimming

Note: cfu stands for colony forming units

Further information about the program is available from the Beachwatch website, run by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Most recent ratings

The most recent samples were taken on the 22 February 2017

Swimming Site Site type Description Rating
Aslings Beach Ocean beach Good ****
Bar Beach Estuarine Good ****
Beares Beach Ocean beach Good ****
Blue Pool Bermagui  Ocean baths Good ****
Bruce Steer Pool Estuarine Good ****
Camel Rock Ocean beach Good ****
Cocora Beach Ocean beach Good ****
Horseshoe Bay Beach Ocean beach Good ****
Lions Park, Mogareeka Lagoon/lake Good ****
Main Beach Ocean beach Good ****
Mogareeka Boat Ramp Lagoon/Lake Good ****
Pambula Beach Ocean beach Good ****
Pambula River Mouth Estuarine Good ****
Short Point Ocean beach Good ****
Tathra Beach Ocean beach Good ****

What you can do to help

General warnings

  • Avoid swimming during and at least one day after heavy rain at ocean beaches, and for at least three days at harbour beaches, due to the possibility of pollution from stormwater drains.
  • Avoid swimming near storm water drains or sewage outfalls.
  • Avoid swimming if you see signs of pollution such as discoloured water, oil or scum on the water, and litter or other debris floating in the water or on the tide line.

Improve water quality

Actions to do more often
  • Pick up litter in the park or on the street
  • Sweep the gutters and driveways regularly and place the sweepings on the garden or in the compost
  • Do not allow soil or mulch to be washed or blown off the garden
  • Clean up pet droppings and dispose of them thoughtfully
  • Rake up leaves or lawn clippings and use them as mulch on the garden or place them in the compost
  • Grass or replant areas of disturbed soil
  • Consider natural alternatives to pest control chemicals
  • Maintain the car, making sure there are no leaks and that the fuel is burned cleanly by keeping the vehicle tuned
  • Use the minimum amount of detergent for cleaning outside
  • Wash brushes and rollers over a sand filter on the lawn
  • Wash cars on the lawn or gravel and use minimal detergent. Empty the soapy water down the sink or toilet. Alternatively, take the car to a car wash where the water gets treated and recycled
  • Make sure sewerage pipes are not connected illegally to stormwater
  • Install a rainwater tank
  • Replace concrete or other hard surfaces with permeable surfaces such as timber decks and pavers with gaps between pavers
  • Get involved with bushcare or landcare projects that restore or protect local waterways
  • Direct roof runoff from downpipes to the garden

Actions to avoid

  • Washing the car in the street
  • Hosing dirt off hard surfaces like  paths and driveways, into gutters
  • Dropping packaging or cigarette butts on the ground.
  • Leaving rubbish where bins are already full
  • Hosing leaves and grass clippings into gutters
  • Washing cement mixers into the gutter
  • Using too much fertilisers. Follow the instructions
  • Piling sand and soil on areas where it can be washed into the stormwater system.
  • Using pesticides, fertiliser and herbicides when rain is forecasted for the same day
  • Disposing of oil or chemicals into the gutters
  • Overuse of pesticides and herbicides that could be washed into stormwater from the garden
  • Pouring paint, solvent or cleaners in the gutter or where they may enter drains
  • Covering large areas with impervious surfaces e.g. bitumen, concrete

Further information

Please contact Council's Environmental Health Section on 02 6499 2222.


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