Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has announced the top performing Port Phillip Bay beaches in terms of water quality forecasts for the summer to date with Eastern Beach, Portarlington, Santa Casa and The Dell topping the list.
Safety Beach, Sorrento, St Leonards, Dromana, Portsea and Rosebud round out the top 10.
EPA Chief Environmental Scientist Andrea Hinwood said performance was based on forecasting data provided to the public through EPA's Beach Report service which is issued twice-daily through the summer months.
“The Beach Report forecasting service provides the community with information about predicted water quality at 36 of Port Phillip Bay’s beaches, which can be either good, fair or poor,” Dr Hinwood said.
“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 said beaches in Port Phillip Bay had performed well over the summer period so far, but warned that heavy rain and storms can create a risk to the public as they can flood stormwater systems that then carry pollution that has built up in the drains into waterways.
“Heavy rain, such as that experienced in the lead up to Christmas, is often associated with poor water quality at beaches across Port Phillip Bay,” Dr Hinwood said.
“EPA advises people to avoid swimming near stormwater or river outlets 24-48 hours after rain or in areas where water is discoloured, or debris, oil and scum is visible.”
Forecasts can be found via twitter @EPA_Victoria or 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.
EPA also issues forecasts for popular Yarra River locations in Kew, Warrandyte, Healesville and Launching Place. All four of these sites have poor water quality forecast too.
EPA forecasts predict water quality based on the latest weather conditions, 26 years of water quality history, recent bacterial sampling results and pollution reports.
EPA’s Beach Report forecasts run until Labour Day weekend, March 2018.