Pandora Pond: Swimming warning downgraded to 'Caution Advised'

20 March 2018

The swim warning that has been in place in Pandora Pond has today been downgraded to ‘caution advised’.

Caution Advised: Overall this site is considered a moderate infection risk. Avoid swimming in water for at least 2-3 days after heavy rain, or if the water appears discoloured.

Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Medical Officer of Health, Dr Nicholas Jones, said the swimming warning was downgraded following consistent water sample results that were within safe recreational water guidelines.

Dr Jones said a decision had been made, in collaboration with Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Napier City Council, to leave the pond at a cautionary status as levels could fluctuate following heavy rainfall events.

"On balance we believe the chances of illness from swimming, sailing or kayaking at Pandora are low, providing people avoid using it for three days after rainfall."

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) Senior Coastal Quality Scientist, Anna Madarasz-Smith, says the regional council had undertaken extensive sampling from the Railway Bridge to the Inner Harbour and had not yet found the source of the contamination, but was working on what the contributing factors could be.

"Some avian, or bird contamination has been found but that would be expected in an estuary such as Ahuriri and HBRC certainly doesn’t have the full picture yet," says Anna Madarasz-Smith.

She says further test results are expected within the next month, which may help shed some more light on the issue.

Dr Jones said a number of factors had most likely contributed to the contamination such as:

  • Bird droppings
  • High numbers of people using the pond over hot summer days resulting in reports of human excrement (i.e. dirty nappies etc)
  • Stormwater discharges related to heavy rainfall that is still under investigation by Napier City Council.

Dr Jones said because Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s annual monitoring season had now concluded for the summer season, people needed to always check fresh waterways before swimming in them and avoid after heavy rainfall events.

"A quick test that people can do on the spot to check the water is clear is to see whether their feet are visible when knee-deep in the water. It is also a good idea to check one of the weather websites for local rainfall information over the last few days,” he said.

People could visit Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s website www.hbrc.govt.nz or the https://www.lawa.org.nz/ for water quality information on fresh waterways and swimming.

ENDS

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