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Rain brings warning over Napier estuary

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/04/2017

People in Napier are being warned against swimming or collecting shellfish in the Ahuriri Estuary because of health risks from the heavy rain.

The deluge has caused overloading of sections of the city's sewage network, with part of the stormwater flow temporarily diverted into a drain that leads into the estuary.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council say this diversion has now stopped and pollution staff are sampling water in the area.

Medical officer of health Dr Nicholas Jones said bacteria and virus levels are likely to higher in the estuary and people should avoid any water activities there until they get the all-clear.

He says the gathering of shellfish from Ahuriri is never recommended but the risks are likely to be higher than normal for some time because of the wastewater flows.

This is because shellfish can take several weeks to clear any contaminants they absorb.

"While the wastewater overflow does not appear to have affected other swimming locations, heavy rain tends to be associated with increased risks from swimming due to run off generally," Dr Jones said.

"Standard advice to avoid swimming in all fresh waterways such as lagoons, streams, and rivers for at least three days after heavy rain should be followed."

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