Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) is urging beachgoers to check water quality forecasts, or sign up for SMS alerts, before hitting Port Phillip Bay’s beaches in the coming days.
The Bureau of Meteorology recorded heavy rainfall of up to 50mm for parts of the east Melbourne area overnight, which is often associated with poor water quality at beaches across Port Phillip Bay.
EPA has recorded eleven beaches with poor water quality at Aspendale, Beaumauris, Blackrock, Carrum, Frankston Coast Guard and Frankston Life Saving Club, Half Moon Bay, Mentone, Mordialloc, Sandringham and Seaford.
EPA issues twice-daily water quality forecasts of good, fair and poor for Port Phillip Bay’s 36 beaches 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.
EPA also issues forecasts for popular Yarra River locations in Kew, Warrandyte, Healesville and Launching Place.
EPA Chief Environmental Scientist Dr Andrea 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.
‘Heavy rain and storms are can create a risk to the public as they can flood stormwater systems that then carry pollution that has built up in drains into waterways,’ Dr Hinwood said.
Dr Hinwood said Victorian beaches were great places to visit, but they were also complex ecosystems.
‘In certain conditions they can be home to bacteria from faecal pollution that poses health risks to swimmers,’ she said.
‘This weekend many people will be spending time in the water and we want to make sure they don't get sick. Everyone should be checking the forecast before they go swimming.’