Beachwatch programs was established in 1989 in response to community concern about the impact of sewage pollution on human health and the environment at Sydney's ocean beaches.
The programs provide regular and reliable information on beach water quality to enable people to make informed decisions about where and when to swim. A total of 127 swimming locations are monitored in the Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regions, with a further 129 sites monitored in partnership with local councils along the NSW coast.
Beachwatch data shows that beach water quality in Sydney has improved dramatically over the last two decades. While rainfall can affect results from year to year, improvements in stormwater and wastewater management have also clearly made a contribution to these gains. To ensure ongoing improvement, Beachwatch works with Sydney Water to prioritise short and long term sewerage system maintenance and repairs.
The Beachwatch programs are:
General warnings for safe swimming
Avoid swimming during and at least one day after heavy rain at ocean beaches, and for at least three days at harbour beaches, due to the possibility of pollution from stormwater drains.
Avoid swimming near stormwater drains or sewage outfalls.
Avoid swimming if you see signs of pollution such as discoloured water, oil or scum on the water, and litter or other debris floating in the water or on the tide line.
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Page last updated: 04 April 2013