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Council seeks views on water quality and beach standards

7 January 2004

The Christchurch City Council is launching a citywide campaign in mid-January seeking residents’ views on water quality and beach standards near the Ocean Outfall.

Council senior projects coordinator, City Water and Waste, John Moore, says recent concerns expressed about Christchurch beaches was the sort of feedback Council hoped to capture after people read the necessary background information.

This information, launched on today, is part of a campaign aimed to educate the wider Christchurch population about the Ocean Outfall in order to get feedback on their preferred option for Outfall construction.
An information booklet on the new Water Quality and Beach Standards is  available for downloading from the website. It explains the Ocean Outfall and how water quality and beach standards are assessed as very good, good, fair, poor or very poor. Hard copies of the same booklet, with submission forms attached, are available from Council Service Centres and libraries after 19 January, 2004.

Mr Moore says that while some beaches have signs on them notifying of possible health risks for swimmers, the water quality on Christchurch beaches has not actually changed. What has changed is the way these beaches are graded nationally for recreational contact with water, he says.

These new standards, developed jointly by the ministries of Environment and Health use some testing for indicator bugs as before, but also take account of other factors in the environment likely to produce contamination, such as bird-life or stormwater run-off going into nearby rivers and streams.

For this reason, Christchurch beaches are unlikely to be graded as very good until suitable ways of reducing contamination from these sources are found

The Council is confident, however, that Sumner and Scarborough beaches will be re-graded “good” once the upgrade of the Christchurch Wastewater Treatment Plant oxidation ponds, is completed later this year, Mr Moore says.

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