Heavy rain events in the early part of summer badly affected water quality at some bayside beaches, according to a review of the EPA Beach Report through the 2022 – 2023 summer.
Geelong’s Eastern Beach, normally one of the top performers, showed less than ‘Good’ water quality on 47 per cent of summer’s 90 days, according to the popular EPA report.
St Kilda, Elwood and Frankston were slightly improved but were rated less than Good 53 per cent of the time.
The top performing beaches were Santa Casa, Good 87 per cent of forecasts and Portsea at 84 per cent.
“Most beaches were Good to Fair most of the time, especially on the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas,” explained EPA Chef Environmental Scientist Professor Mark Taylor.
“But stormwater pollution following higher than mean rainfall in October-November, and some heavy rain events in December 2022, resulted in more ‘Fair’ forecasts being issued this summer compared to 2021-2022.
“Eastern Beach’s poorer than normal performance was due to flood water contamination but most recently the poorer water quality was caused by seagrass decomposing in the area. We’re pleased to say that situation has resolved itself and Eastern Beach’s normal high performance has returned.”
Professor Taylor said EPA’s popular Beach Report and Yarra Watch reporting service, which this season opened earlier than usual in October, will be continuing through to June for the first time.
“Autumn will still give us some great beach weather and we’ll be continuing to provide twice daily water quality advisories at 36 Bay beaches and four popular swimming spots on the Yarra.
“So, it’s not quite time to put the bathers and sunscreen away.”
For more information on Beach Report and Yarrra Watch, go to https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-community/summer-water-quality/beach-report
Reviewed 7 March 2023