3 November 2020
Bega Valley Shire beaches returned a great overall result in the 2019-2020 summer Beachwatch State of the Beaches report released last week, with 100% of our beaches graded ‘good’ or ‘very good’.
Council works with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment from December to February to inform the community about water quality and the best places to swim.
Council’s Environmental Health Officer Cadet, Amanda McKenna said samples are collected weekly from 15 of the region’s popular swimming areas, which are monitored for Enterococci (indicator of faecal bacteria contamination) and then analysed to produce the weekly ratings.
“The rating categories range through very good, good, fair, poor and very poor. The State of the Beaches 2019-2020 report showed all sampled beaches across the area were graded as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, which mirrors the result achieved for the previous three summers.
“This was a great result despite the catastrophic summer bushfires which led to ash and debris being evident at many beaches,” said Ms McKenna.
“Across the Bega Valley our monitored sites include ocean beaches, estuarine beaches, lake/lagoon swimming sites and ocean baths.
“Rainfall is the major driver of pollution to recreational waters, generating stormwater runoff and triggering untreated discharges from the wastewater treatment and transport systems.”
“Some general warnings for safe swimming this summer are to avoid swimming during, and at least one day after, heavy rain at ocean beaches due to the possibility of pollution from stormwater.
“Avoid swimming near stormwater drains or sewage outfalls and 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,” she said.
You can access results for the 127 locations across NSW through the Beachwatch App.
The State of the Beaches 2019-20 report (and report cards) is now publicly available on the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment website.