Officials warn of contamination in NSW ocean water ahead of sunny weekend
The sun is back over Sydney, but anyone who plans to hit the beach this weekend may want to think twice.
Environmental officials have warned that the recent floods have had a “significant impact” on water quality, and there could be heavy contamination in the ocean.
“The heavy rain and floodwaters will have washed pollutants from our streets, including rubbish, bird and dog faeces, cigarette butts, leaf litter and oil into the stormwater system,” a NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment spokeswoman said.
“Heavy rainfall can also trigger discharges from wastewater systems.”
Swimmers should check the NSW government’s Beachwatch website and look for a green symbol at their beach of choice.
As of Friday afternoon, there was not a single beach in Sydney that was guaranteed to be pollution-free.
Most harbour and ocean beaches were marked with a yellow symbol that meant pollution was possible.
Some had red symbols, meaning pollution is likely, including the beach near Boat Harbour Aquatic Reserve in the Sutherland Shire.
But those who wish to risk a swim anyway should exercise common sense.
“If you can see signs of pollution in the water, like discoloured water or debris floating on the surface, don’t jump in,” the government spokeswoman said.
“Never swim in floodwater and avoid swimming near stormwater drains. If you’re unsure about the safety of swimming at your local beach or swimming spot, speak to the lifeguards on duty or give local council a call.”
Both Saturday and Sunday would be mostly sunny in Sydney, with peak temperatures around 27 degrees, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
The most recent “State of the beaches” survey of NSW waterways showed 98 per cent of ocean beaches were generally in good or very good condition.