Those thinking of taking a dip to cool off in the summer heat are being warned to tread with caution, as contaminated recreational water raises potential health risks.
“If you swim in or drink contaminated water, you risk getting sick,” says Toi Te Ora Public Health Service medical officer of health, Dr Phil Shoemack.
“Illnesses you can catch include a tummy bug, a sore throat or skin infection. After heavy rain water is likely to be contaminated with animal faeces from rural and urban run-off.
“As a precaution people should avoid swimming in rivers, streams and harbour areas for 48 hours after heavy rainfall events.”
What action to take:
Avoid swimming for at least 48 hours after heavy or prolonged rain.
At any time if you notice the water in your local lake, river, harbour, estuary or beach is murky or has a musty smell, go somewhere else.
“Our regional and district/city councils keep a close eye on the quality of our bathing spots. They test the water regularly.
“If a recreational water site is found to be significantly contaminated, with risk to public health, Toi Te Ora Public Health informs the public by issuing a health warning and the local council erects warning signs.”
Alternatively members of public can also sign up to receive email alerts.