Is it safe to swim after rain?

janinerSun, 08/01/2023 - 2:27pm

The rain started on Thursday 5 January 2023 with the biggest falls on Saturday 7 January 2023. Our weather station in Cove Boulevarde recorded a total of 125ml with 85ml of that being on Saturday. The rain was most welcome, as the ground was dry, many gardens were suffering, and some properties were running short of tank water.

However, big rain events also affect the quality of the water in the Cove. The advice of most authorities is not to swim for 3 days after large rainfall events or until the water is clear.

One way to determine the safety of the water for swimming is to look to see which oyster harvest areas are open or closed. The Bundabah oyster harvest area, which covers the entire Cove waterway, is closed for harvest until further notice due to possible water contamination, but the Carrington harvest area is open.

I had a look at the water this morning and it looks green rather than brown. Brown water could be seen in the north east coming down Bundabah Creek. We are having 1.8m tides at the moment, which leads to good flushing. Also, it is midsummer and sunshine helps kill the water contaminants.

There is no Government Authority to tell us whether it is safe to swim. However, it is reasonable to follow the Beachwatch advice to avoid swimming for three days after heavy rain. If you must have a swim before Wednesday, Heros Beach or any of the beaches on the main part of the Port would be a safer choice.

Eating the wild oysters at any time is a risk. However, eating them after rain when the harvest area is closed is a much higher risk. Taking oysters from oyster leases is illegal. If you would like to sample our local oysters, it is much safer to buy them from your local seafood outlet where you know that the oysters have undergone rigorous quality control.


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