EPA’s flood water testing program for the Barwon River shows continued presence of contamination in the water and high water volumes leading to foaming waters.

EPA advises to avoid all contact with the Barwon River in Geelong where enterococci contamination was very high. Water quality results from Barwon Heads shows water is not suitable for swimming, and EPA recommends against all contact (boating, canoeing) with discoloured waters due to flooding, and to take a commonsense approach to swimming at nearby surf beaches.

“We're also seeing significantly more foam in the Barwon River in the Geelong area. This is due to naturally occurring organic matter. The intense flows at Buckley Falls in Geelong are the likely source of the foaming,” said EPA Water Scientist Darren Cottam.

“For the moment our advice is to avoid contact with the water, and that includes the surf beaches adjacent to the Barwon River mouth. And don’t consume any fish taken from the Barwon.”

EPA advised that some of the health issues included possible gastro, skin rashes and eye irritation. Anyone experiencing swim-related illness should seek advice from their doctor.  

We will continue our monitoring program and report on the water quality as results become available.

For more information about EPA’s floodwater testing program go to https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/flood-impacted-rivers#barwon-river-data

Reviewed 18 November 2022