FAQ - Recreational swimming water quality programme

Q.

What is the Recreational Swimming Water Quality Programme (RSWQP)?

A. A programme to monitor bacterial water quality at a selection of the region’s most popular freshwater and coastal swimming sites during the summer months.
 

Q.

Who can I talk to if I’m worried about water quality at a site?

A.

Contact the Northland Regional Council on 0800 002004 or 09 470 1226 during office hours and ask to speak to the State of the Environment Officer (John Ballinger).

If your enquiry is outside office hours and you believe an environmental incident has occurred, call the NRC 24-7 Environmental Hotline on 0800 504 639.
 

Q.

Who do I speak to about warning signs?

A.

Erection and maintenance of warning signs is the responsibility of the relevant District Council:

  • Far North         Tamati Paroane - 09 405 5399
  • Kaipara            George Lewis – 09 439 3123
  • Whangarei       Reiner Mussle – 09 430 4200

Q.

How long do warning signs stay up for?

A.

If a site is known to have generally good water quality but the occasional ‘unsafe’ result, the warning sign will only be in place until the next ‘safe’ result is recorded. This may be the following week.

If a site is known to have generally poor water quality, the warning sign may remain in place until up to five consecutive ‘safe’ results have been recorded. This may mean that at these sites, a sign remains in place indefinitely.

Q.

Who do I contact if I become ill after swimming at a site in Northland?

A.

You should contact the Northland District Health Board on 09 430 4100.

Q.

Who do I contact if I become ill after eating shellfish from a site in Northland?

A.

You should contact the Northland District Health Board on 09 430 4100.

Q.

Who do I contact if I notice something unusual at a site?

A.

If you suspect an environmental incident has occurred at a site, contact the Northland Regional Council 24-7 Environmental Hotline on 0800 504639.

Q.

How many sites will be monitored during 2011-2012?

 

47 Coastal sites and 12 freshwater sites.

Q.

How do I know which sites are included in the programme in 2011-2012?

A.

A full list of sites is available on the Northland Regional Council website www.nrc.govt.nz/swimming, or a list can be collected from reception at NRC’s offices on Water Street, Whangarei.

Q.

When does the 2011-2012 sampling season start and finish?

A.

The sampling season will start on 28 November 2011 with the first results available on Friday 2 December.

The last samples will be collected week beginning 26 March 2011, with results available Friday 30 March.

Q.

How often are sites monitored?

A.

Sites are monitored once a week from 28 November 2011 to 13 February 2012. The most popular sites will be monitored until 30 March 2012.

Q.

What is recorded at each site?

A.

A sample of water is collected from each site. This sample is analysed in a laboratory to measure the amount of illness causing bacteria present in the water. Water temperature is also recorded whilst on site, along with any other observations, such as the presence of animals in the water or any smell or scum on the water.

Q.

Where do I get this week’s water quality results?

A.

Results are available each Friday during the sampling season on the Northland Regional Council website www.nrc.govt.nz/swimming. A paper copy of the weekly results is also available from reception at NRC’s offices on Water Street, Whangarei.

Q.

How do I know which sites are safe or unsafe?

A.

Sites are given a weekly grading depending on the amount of illness causing bacteria present in the water – green ‘safe’, orange ‘caution’ or red ‘unsafe’.

Results are available each Friday during the sampling season on the Northland Regional Council website www.nrc.govt.nz/swimming. A paper copy of the weekly results is also available from reception at NRC’s offices on Water Street, Whangarei.

If a site is graded as ‘unsafe’, the relevant district council will erect a warning sign next to the site that will remain in place until the water is found to be ‘safe

Q.

How do I get more information on the Recreational Swimming Water Quality Programme?

A.

You can find more information on the Recreational Swimming Water Quality Programme at www.nrc.govt.nz/swimming.

 If you wish to speak to someone about the programme, call 0800 002004 or 09 4384639 and ask to speak to a State of the Environment Officer.