26 September 2023

EPA discloses State’s best and worst beaches

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The Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has wrapped up a season’s worth of water quality forecasts to reveal the State’s best and worst beaches of 2021-22.

Program Coordinator, Water at EPA, Darren Cottam said most water quality forecasts for Port Phillip Bay beaches over summer were ‘Good’ to ‘Fair’.

Mr Cottam said the EPA’s Beach Watch service gave Bay and Yarra users twice daily information about the forecasted water quality at 36 bay beaches and four popular swimming sites along the Yarra River from December to Labour Day each summer.

“Ranked by the number of ‘Good’ forecasts, the swimming spots with the best record for the summer were the beaches at Portsea and the Mt Martha Life Saving Club,” Mr Cottam said.

“The beaches with the most forecasts of ‘Good’ water quality over summer were on the Mornington Peninsula and beaches between Brighton and Black Rock Beaches, including Hampton, Sandringham, and Half Moon Bay,” he said.

“These beaches are less susceptible to stormwater pollution after rain, or had less rainfall than other beaches.”

Mr Cottam said Warrandyte was the best ranked site on the Yarra, with a ‘Good’ forecast issued on 70 per cent of days during summer.

He said stormwater pollution after rain flowing from large drains and rivers nearby Warrandyte was the most common cause of the ‘Fair’ and ‘Poor’ forecasts issued over the summer.

He said heavy rain that followed dry weather could wash a large amount of pollution from surrounding areas into stormwater drains and waterways.

“Anyone experiencing swimming-related illness should seek advice from their doctor,” Mr Cottam said.

“When the forecast is for ‘Poor’ water quality, EPA advises against swimming and alerts the public through our online and social media services, or via the free SMS alert service.”

He said EPA’s SMS alerts went to more than 15,000 people who registered via their mobile phones during the 2021-22 season.

Mr Cottam announced the popular service would return with an extended monitoring season for summer 2022-23.

“The decision is in response to requests from members of the public, and dates will be chosen by the Water Quality team after public consultation to be conducted later this year,” he said.

The EPA’s Beach rankings and percentage of ‘Good’ forecasts for 2021-2022 can be accessed at this PS News link.

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