Surfers Sick Of 100% Pure Sea Slop

Sewage discharging into the sea

A couple of days back we blogged about the disgusting increase in pollution levels in New Zealand’s bathing waters and of how some waters are being billed as ‘safe for swimming’ when they are so obviously polluted with storm or waste water.

Now it seems that contamination in Waitara may be making those most hardy of souls – surfers – sick, despite the water there getting ‘good results.’

From Stuff

Water quality in Waitara is under the spotlight again as surfers claim the water has made them sick.

Veteran Waitara surfer Jamie Andrews told the Taranaki Daily News he developed an intense earache which lasted almost a week while New Plymouth surfer Lydia Walsh said she broke out in a rash immediately after she left the water.

The claims come as the Taranaki Regional Council considered a report clearing the water in Waitara’s river and coastline as safe for swimming.
The monitoring report says Waitara’s water consistently meets the guidelines for recreational use.

Waitara’s water quality has been a hot topic of late as the town fights for a sewage pipeline connection with New Plymouth and an end to dumping treated sewage at sea.

Yesterday, Waitara surfers told the Taranaki Daily News the ocean surrounding their favourite break stinks “like fart” and they believe it is responsible for ear infections and rashes

But yesterday, TRC environment spokesman Gary Bedford said the council’s monitoring showed the foreshore water met bathing requirements. A full report detailing historical and current information on the state of the water quality on the Waitara river and the coastal environment was tabled at the TRC’s policy and planning committee meeting.

The report says bathing beach bacteriological monitoring shows the foreshore is safe for recreational use. “In the past year, 100 per cent of guidelines were met,” said Mr Bedford” Read the full report here

The Taranaki Regional Council’s own website has this to say about pollution in the mouth of the river:

…The Council’s freshwater bathing monitoring programme during last summer showed that bathing water quality in the Waitara River is by no means the worst in New Zealand. (ed. we note that this was in the summer and the implication is that the results were not good)

“Water quality in the lower reaches of the Waitara River is typical of any river that has a significant proportion of its catchment in developed farmland, particularly dairying.

“But there have been significant improvements in the last 30 years to reduce the impacts of agriculture on the Waitara River.”

We’d like to know exactly where those foreshore samples are taken – in the areas  surfers use? Are the sample taken during the winter and following periods of heavy rainfall and what degree of treatment the sewage effluent gets.

Read also:

Waitara fumes over sewerage scheme delay – April 2009

“A project to pump the town’s waste through a 13km pipeline to the New Plymouth treatment plant was due to start last year but the new draft Long Term Council Community Plan has put the project off until 2015…”

Doco claims pollution horror -21 June 2010

“A documentary exposing the Waitara River as one of the most polluted in the country – and slamming Taranaki authorities for doing little about it – airs tonight. Taradise Lost, produced by Maori Television, claims the effect of sewage and industrial waste has made the river toxic and has ruined traditional seafood grounds. In the documentary, iwi blame the pollution on the Taranaki Regional Council, claiming it is not protecting the environment.

They say the New Plymouth District Council is also at fault, as it has enough money to pay for new sewerage for Waitara but has chosen to spend money on the coastal walkway and sports stadium upgrades instead…”