Beachwatch and Harbourwatch State of the Beaches 1997-1998 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 the Winter Season 1997 and Summer Season 1997‑98, covering the period from 1 May 1997 to 30 April 1998.
Beachwatch uses two indicator organisms, faecal coliforms and enterococci, to measure recreational water quality, as recommended by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and the Australian & New Zealand Environment Conservation Council (ANZECC). Results presented in this report are described in terms of faecal coliform and enterococci compliance with water quality criteria (Appendix 1).
Details: Chapter 1 bwar97981.pdf (PDF format, 102 KB)
Sydney metropolitan ocean beaches
As has been the case in previous years, the cleanest ocean beaches monitored by Beachwatch during the 1997-98 swimming season were the far northern beaches, notably those from Palm Beach to Mona Vale. These beaches complied 100% with water quality criteria for both microbial indicators for the summer swimming season. Water quality was marginally lower at the remainder of the northern beaches and for the city beaches of Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte.
Clovelly, Coogee and especially Malabar recorded lower enterococci compliance than the northern beaches and other city beaches, most likely as a result of stormwater runoff after rainfall.
The beaches with the lowest compliance rates were the Sutherland beaches, namely Boat Harbour, Shelly Beach and Oak Park, which all recorded low compliance with enterococci levels. The most likely pollution sources in this area are the cliff-face sewage outfall at Potter Point in the north, and large stormwater drains, which discharge at the southern beaches.
The potential for sewage pollution at beaches in the Sutherland Shire will be significantly reduced with the planned upgrade of the Cronulla Sewage Treatment Plant.
Details: Chapter 2 – Northern Sydney Ocean Beaches bwar97982a.pdf (PDF format, 1819 KB)
Details: Chapter 2 – City and Southern Sydney Ocean Beaches bwar97982b.pdf (PDF format,1144 KB)
Hunter region ocean beaches
Overall, water quality for the Hunter beaches was very good, with only Bar Beach and Merewether Beach failing to achieve 100% compliance for both indicators of water quality. However, compliance levels for these two beaches was still high, with both achieving 100% compliance with faecal coliform criteria, and greater than 75% compliance with enterococci criteria.
Details: Chapter 2 – Hunter Region Beaches bwar97982c.pdf (PDF format, 1387 KB)
Illawarra region ocean beaches
Water quality for the Illawarra Beaches was also generally good, with results similar to last year. Some improvement in water quality at Fishermans Beach was recorded this year, with the site monitored at the entrance to Lake Illawarra recording low compliance rates for enterococci (48%).
Details: Chapter 2 – Illawarra Region Beaches bwar97982d.pdf (PDF format, 1308 KB).
Sydney metropolitan harbours and bays
Overall, the beaches and swimming enclosures monitored in the Botany Bay and lower Georges River catchments were the cleanest sites monitored by Harbourwatch for the Summer Season 1997-98. All beaches had 100% compliance for faecal coliforms except for Foreshores Beach (87%), and all had greater than 80% compliance for enterococci.
The swimming sites in the catchments of Middle Harbour, North Harbour, lower Lane Cove, Parramatta Rivers and Port Jackson, generally had high compliance rates with water quality criteria for faecal coliforms, but a general decrease in enterococci compliance. This was noted especially at Darling Harbour, Little Sirius Point and Rose Bay, which all had less than 50% compliance with enterococci criteria.
The swimming sites monitored by Harbourwatch in the Pittwater waterway had the overall lowest compliance rates for enterococci. This was especially true at Barrenjoey Beach, Paradise Beach, Salt Pan Cove, Clareville Beach, Bayview Beach and Winji Jimmi Bay, which all had less than 50% compliance with water quality criteria for enterococci. Gunnamatta Bay baths in Port Hacking, along with Winji Jimmi Bay, had the lowest compliance for enterococci for the season.
Details: Chapter 3 – Pittwater bwar97983a.pdf (PDF format, 1007 KB)
Details: Chapter 3 – Sydney Harbour bwar97983b.pdf (PDF format, 2504 KB)
Details: Chapter 3 – Botany Bay, Georges River & Port Hacking bwar97983c.pdf (PDF format, 1231 KB)
Reports - quality assurance and communication
Since February 1993 Beachwatch has sent regular replicate water samples to a number of major microbiological laboratories, including the laboratory contracted to analyse all routine Beachwatch water samples. The aim was to gain a measure of the reliability of the routine data provided by the contracted laboratory. The quality assurance (QA) program started with three laboratories but was soon expanded to five. In August 1996 a further laboratory was added to the QA program when the Beachwatch program was extended to the Hunter and Illawarra regions.
This chapter also includes information on the development of the Beachwatch website and the findings of social research commissioned to assess the value of warning signs in the Manly Council area.
Details: Chapter 4 bwar97984.pdf (PDF format, 65 KB)
Special studies - Harbour rainfall recovery and Olympic sites
The post-rainfall recovery time of swimming sites in Sydney Harbour was investigated at five swimming locations in Sydney Harbour: Manly Cove, Clontarf Pool, Balmoral Baths, Northbridge Baths and Greenwich Baths.
The Olympic study was undertaken to assess the bacterial density at five sites within Sydney Harbour to be used for water-based sporting events during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Details: Chapter 5 bwar97985.pdf (PDF format, 189 KB)
There are two appendixes to this report:
· Appendix 1 describes the water quality criteria used in this report.
· Appendix 2 discusses the indicator bacteria used for Beachwatch assessments.
A list of references, a glossary and further resources are also provided at the end of the report.
Details: Appendixes bwar9798app.pdf (PDF format, 72 KB)
Page last updated: 27 April 2012