Council investigates Red Beach water contamination

Stormwater pipes that flow out to Red Beach are being investigated by Auckland Council, which is concerned about contamination.

At a workshop on June 14, Council’s Safeswim programme manager Nick Vigar talked with the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board about the results of water quality analysis at Red Beach. This information was discussed in confidence, however Hibiscus Matters has since ascertained that the concerns relate to possible contamination from stormwater pipes.

Mr Vigar says that the Safeswim website, launched last November, has provided more effective indications of water quality than previous sample testing methods.

“Following concerns from the community of poor water quality indicated on Safeswim, our team worked with the Red Beach Surf Club to carry out additional testing of the beach, stream and stormwater pipes, from November 2017 to May 2018,” he says.

Samples from stormwater pipes were collected in both dry and wet weather to identify potential sources of contamination.

Mr Vigar says that to date Council has collected nearly 100 water samples in stormwater drains upstream of the drains identified by the previous sampling.

“We have now initiated further investigations of the local pipe network to locate the exact sources of contamination.”

The sampling process and investigations are still underway and Council will update the local board once the definitive results and planned follow up actions are ready to share.

Local board chair Julia Parfitt says the new testing system is very comprehensive and can use DNA to ascertain whether bacteria such as e coli come from people or birds.

“People had faith in the previous testing regime, but it was not very accurate,” she says. Mrs Parfitt says all the beaches in the Hibiscus & Bays area are in the top third of safe beaches in Auckland, but that improvements are still needed.

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