Beach quality on the improve, says report

Three out of four swimming areas on the Woy Woy Peninsula have been given a “good” or “very good” rating in the 2019-20 NSW State of the Beaches Report.
Only the Woy Woy baths received a “poor” rating, not changing from the previous report.
Council works on sewage pumping stations should improve this, the report from the NSW Department of Primary Industry and Environment said.
Both Ocean Beach and the Pearl Beach Rockpool ocean baths were rated “good” and Umina Beach received a “very good” rating.
Umina Beach was the only Woy Woy Peninsula swimming spot, included in the study, to improve its rating since the last report.
Umina Beach made it to the best beaches on the Central Coast list in this year’s report as a site with excellent water quality, suitable for swimming almost all of the time.
Only three other beaches in the region were on the list, including nearby Killcare.
The microbial water quality at Woy Woy Baths was often elevated during dry and wet weather, according to the report.
“The bacterial levels continued to increase significantly in response to increasing rainfall,” it said.
Woy Woy Baths water quality may be impacted by several significant potential sources of faecal contamination including stormwater and other sources within Brisbane Water, and have low levels of flushing.
“Further investigation is required to show the scale and extent of the problem, and the source of microbial contamination.”
The report said swimming at the baths was not recommended during and for up to three days following rainfall or if there are any signs of stormwater such as discoloured water or floating debris.
“The Beach Suitability Grade of Poor indicates microbial water quality is susceptible to faecal pollution, particularly after rainfall and occasionally during dry weather conditions.
“Enterococci levels increased with increasing rainfall, often exceeding the safe swimming limit after little or no rain, and usually after 20 mm or more.
“The site has been monitored since 2004.”
According to the report, Pearl Beach Rockpool was flushed irregularly and dependent on the natural exchange of ocean water over the rocks and pool walls.
“The Beach Suitability Grade of Good indicates microbial water quality is considered suitable for swimming most of the time but may be susceptible to pollution after rain, with several potential sources of faecal contamination including stormwater.
“Enterococci levels increased slightly with increasing rainfall, occasionally exceeding the safe swimming limit in response to rainfall.
“It is recommended that swimming be avoided during and for up to one day after rainfall, or if there are signs of pollution such as discoloured water or floating debris.”
Major works currently underway by Central Coast Council including upgrades of sewage pumping stations at Ettalong, Koolewong, Umina, Woy Woy, and Blackwall, “will improve reliability, process control and address other existing deficiencies” that contribute to poor water quality, the report said.

Website, 30 Oct 2020
State of the Beaches, NSW DPIE