Beachwatch and Harbourwatch State of the Beaches 2000-2001 Summary
This report describes the monitoring and reporting activities of Beachwatch and Harbourwatch at Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra ocean beaches and Sydney estuarine bathing areas during winter 2000 and summer 2000-2001, covering the period from 1 May 2000 to 30 April 2001. The focus of this report is on the summer 2000-2001 swimming season (1 October 2000 to 30 April 2001).
Beachwatch uses two types of indicator organisms, faecal coliforms and enterococci, to measure recreational water quality, as recommended by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council (ANZECC). Results presented in this report are described in terms of faecal coliform and enterococci compliance with water quality criteria.
Details: Chapter 1 (PDF format, 232 KB)
Results for 2000-2001
Sydney metropolitan ocean beaches
There was an overall improvement in Sydney beach water quality during summer 2000-2001. This was despite above average rainfall being recorded in Sydney for the third consecutive summer.
Almost half of the 35 Sydney ocean beaches monitored by Beachwatch recorded more than a 10-percentage point increase in compliance with recreational water quality criteria in summer 2000-2001 compared to summer 1999-2000. Only one beach, Boat Harbour, recorded more than a 10-percentage point decrease in compliance with water quality criteria compared to the previous summer.
Eleven beaches complied 100% with reacreational water quality criteria for both indicators, faecal coliforms and enterococci, for the entire 2000-2001 summer season. Sydney's cleanest beaches were Whale, Bilgola, Newport, Bungan, Warriewood, North Narrabeen, Long Reef, South Curl Curl and Queenscliff in Sydney's north and the city beaches of Bondi and Clovelly. Other beaches complying 80% or more for both indicators were Palm, Avalon, Mona Vale, Turimetta, Collaroy, Dee Why, North Curl Curl, Freshwater, North Steyne, Shelly (Manly), Tamarama, Bronte, Maroubra and Wanda Beach.
Beaches with compliance levels lower than 80% were South Steyne, Coogee, Malabar and all the southern beaches with the exception of Wanda.
Details: Chapter 3 - Northern Sydney Ocean Beaches (PDF format, 1393 KB)
Details: Chapter 3 - City and Southern Sydney Ocean Beaches (PDF format, 987 KB)
Hunter region ocean beaches
The good news from previous summer seasons continued throughout summer 2000-2001, with Hunter beaches once again being the cleanest group of beaches monitored as part of the Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra Beachwatch program.
For the second consecutive season, all seventeen Hunter beaches complied 100% with faecal coliform criteria for the entire 2000-2001 summer season. All beaches except Swansea Heads Little Beach complied 100% with enterococci water quality criteria for summer 2000-2001. Enterococci compliance at Swansea Heads Little Beach was still high at 90%.
The Hunter's cleanest beaches were Zenith, Box, Fingal, One Mile Beach, South Stockton, Nobbys, Newcastle, Bar, Merewether, Burwood North, Burwood South, Glenrock Lagoon Beach, Dudley, Redhead, Blacksmiths and Caves.
Details: Chapter 3 - Hunter Region Beaches (PDF format, 1039 KB)
Illawarra region ocean beaches
There was a considerable improvement in beach water quality in the Illawarra during summer 2000-2001.
Twelve beaches recorded 100% compliance with recreational water quality criteria for both indicators, faecal coliforms and enterococci, for the 2000-2001 summer season. This compares favourably with the results from summer 1999-2000 when eight beaches recorded 100% compliance with both indicators.
Although compliance levels at the entrance to Lake Illawarra were lower than the other 17 sites monitored in the Illawarra, a 39-percentage point increase in enterococci compliance was recorded for summer 2000-2001.
The Illawarra's cleanest beaches were Woonoona, Bellambi, North Wollongong, Wollongong City, Coniston, Fishermans, Port Kembla, Warilla, Shellharbour, Boyd's Jones, Bombo and Werri Beach. Austinmer, Thirroul and Surf Beach, Kiama also recorded 100% compliance with recreational water quality criteria for faecal coliforms, the only indicator measured at these beaches.
Details: Chapter 3 - Illawarra Region Beaches (PDF format, 1000 KB)
Sydney metropolitan harbours and bays
There was an overall improvement in recreational water quality at harbour and bay swimming sites in Sydney during summer 2000-2001. Thirty-nine of the 60 swimming sites monitored by Harbourwatch recorded an improvement in water quality compared to the previous summer season.
Sixteen harbour and bay swimming sites complied 100% with recreational water quality criteria for faecal coliforms and enterococci, for the summer 2000-2001 season. This compares favourably with the results from the previous summer, 1999-2000, when six sites recorded 100% compliance for both indicators.
Fourteen sites recorded a decrease in compliance for one or both bacterial indicators during summer 2000-2001, however these decreases were generally only slight. Exceptions were Foreshores Beach, Lilli Pilli Baths and Gymea Bay Baths, all recording more than a 10-precentage point decrease in compliance for one or both indicators compared to the previous summer.
The cleanest harbour swimming sites, all recording 100% compliance with recreational water quality criteria for the 2000-2001 summer season were Barrenjoey Beach, South Scotland Island, Elvina Bay, The Basin and Great Mackerel Beach in Pittwater, Nielsen Park, Watsons Bay, Clontarf Pool, Chinamans Beach and Balmoral Baths in Sydney Harbour, Dolls Point Baths in Lower Georges River, North Ramsgate Baths, South Ramsgate Baths, Congwong Bay and Silver Beach in Botany Bay and Jibbon Beach in Port Hacking.
Details: Chapter 4 - Pittwater (PDF format, 954 KB)
Details: Chapter 4 - Sydney Harbour (PDF format, 2025 KB)
Details: Chapter 4 - Botany Bay, Georges River, Port Hacking (PDF format, 1547 KB)
Actions to improve beach and harbour water quality
Many actions are being taken to prevent pollution at the beach. State and local governments are tackling sources of pollution in a range of ways. Chapter 2 outlines the developments and achievements for 2000-2001 in the following areas:
Sewage Treatment Plants
- Cronulla Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrade to Sydney's coastal sewage treatment plants
- Hunter Water's Stockton Sewage Treatment Plant Wastewater Transfer
- Sydney Water's Illawarra Wastewater Strategy
- The Gerringong/Gerroa Sewerage Scheme
Licensing of sewage overflows
Sydney Water's Overflow Abatement Program
Northside Storage Tunnel
Hunter Upgrade Management Plans
Details: Chapter 2 (PDF format, 307 KB)
Quality assurance program
The Beachwatch quality assurance (QA) program is undertaken to ensure that the data collected and presented is accurate and reliable. This includes QA of field sampling, microbiological analysis of beach water samples and reporting to the community. Results indicate that Beachwatch field data is collected according to established protocols, the microbiological data is generally reliable and Beachwatch information reported to the community is accurate and timely.
Details: Chapter 5 (PDF format, 167 KB)
There are four appendixes to this report:
Appendix 1 describes the use of indicator microorganisms in establishing the suitability of a body of water for recreational use.
Appendix 2 presents the detailed results of the microbiological quality assurance program.
Appendix 3 presents monitoring results for sites used during the 2000 Olympics
Appendix 4 is intended to point the reader towards other information sources relating to both bacterial pollution of waterways used for recreation, and human health risks.
A list of references and a glossary are also provided at the end of the report.
Details: Appendixes (PDF format, 715 KB)
Page last updated: 26 February 2011