Beachwatch water quality monitoring has Bello back in the swim

Published on 20 September 2022

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Bellingen Council has launched its new Beachwatch program in time for the swimming season. Swimmers will now have access to weekly updates on reliable water quality information at 7 popular swimming sites across the Shire to help them decide when and where to swim.

Council has partnered with the NSW Government’s Beachwatch program which monitors and reports recreational water quality at swimming sites along the NSW coast. Water samples are collected and tested for bacteria, showing signs of faecal pollution, and whether it is safe for swimming.

“In a state-wide first, freshwater sites have been included in the Bellingen Shire monitoring” said Bellingen Shire Mayor, Cr Steve Allan. “Sampling begins this week and will continue through until after the Easter Holidays in April, covering the most popular times for swimming in our Shire.”

The swimming sites have been determined due to the likelihood of contamination and the consequence of contamination due to amount of use. The current program sites are:

  • Never Never River – Arthur Keoughs Reserve
  • Bellinger River – Lavenders Bridge
  • Bellinger River – Mylestom tidal pool
  • North Beach – At Surf Club
  • Urunga Lagoon – Urunga Lido
  • Hungry Beach – At Surf Club
  • Dalhousie Creek – At Surf Club

“Recreational water can sometimes be unsuitable for swimming, especially after rainfall when stormwater, wastewater and agricultural runoff can overflow.” Mayor Allan said. “Routine water quality monitoring measures the impact of pollution sources at swimming sites over time. This enables the effectiveness of stormwater and wastewater management to be assessed, and highlights areas where further work may be needed”.

The first results will go live this Friday.  Swimmers will be able to monitor recreational water quality each week via weekly posts on Councils social media or via the Beachwatch website.