All beaches in Port Phillip Bay have been rated poor following last night’s heavy rains. Swimmers should check on water quality reports before swimming at Port Phillip Bay beaches and the Yarra River, says Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea Hinwood.
‘The heavy rain and storms last night (29 Jan) may create a risk to the public as they can flood stormwater systems that then carry pollution that has built up in drains into waterways,’ said Dr Hinwood.
‘In certain conditions they can be home to bacteria from faecal pollution that poses health risks to swimmers,’ she said.
EPA issues twice-daily water quality forecasts of good, fair and poor for Port Phillip Bay’s 36 beaches and at four Yarra River locations online and via twitter @EPA_Victoria. People can also sign up for SMS alerts at yarraandbay.vic.gov.au
Water quality information is also displayed on signs at 28 Life Saving Victoria clubs around the bay.
Good forecasts equate to suitable swimming conditions, fair means beaches may not be suitable while poor forecasts advise that beaches are not suitable for swimming.
Dr Hinwood, advised against swimming at all waterways and beaches for up to 48 hours after heavy rain as there could be a higher risk of illness to swimmers from increased bacterial levels.
“While EPA only forecasts water quality, we ask that you remember that safety around the water is everyone’s responsibility – always look out for your mates around water and never swim alone.”
EPA forecasts predict water quality based on the latest weather conditions, historical water quality, recent bacterial sampling results and pollution reports.
EPA’s Beach Report forecasts run until the Labour Day weekend next March.