E. Coli present at Lake Hayes

Lake Hayes in Autumn
Date:
Jan 31, 2019

Water quality samples taken from Lake Hayes Mill Creek Shallows have shown high levels of the bacteria E. coli.

Government water quality guidelines for recreational swimming areas say those with less than 260 E. coli/100 ml are considered safe, whereas water with more than 550 E. coli/100 ml indicates a potential health risk. 

The most recent sampling in the area showed E. coli levels at 2,420 E. coli/100 ml.

Queenstown Lakes District Council Chief Engineer Ulrich Glasner said signage is being erected today at multiple locations to warn people to avoid contact with the water. 

“We’re recommending people avoid swimming and recreational activity at Lake Hayes for the time being, as a precaution,” he said. 

“We have already started the resampling and hope to have the test results back tomorrow. We will then be able to provide a further update to the community. Resampling will take place daily and the status updated once test results show E. coli levels have subsided.” 

The potential source of the elevated E. coli levels is unknown and can be difficult to identify, however both QLDC and Otago Regional Council are taking a range of approaches to understanding the issue. 

From a public health perspective, exposure to E. coli can result in gastroenteritis symptoms within 12 to 18 hours of exposure.  If anyone is concerned about their health or the health of a family member, contact your family doctor or ring HealthLine on 0800 611 116.

ENDS:

Wider reading on E. coli:

https://www.nps.gov/indu/learn/nature/upload/Thinking-Differently-About-E-coli.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3cJqAc5-oH4onOocpuRIegUvAzbk0nBkTe6kKf-mgYF8tuQ7aYu22ko68

https://www.esr.cri.nz/assets/WATER-CONTENT/Images-and-PDFs/technical-report-faecal-source-tracking-avon-river-march-may-2009-screen-000809.pdf

Further health information:

https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/drinking-water/water-contamination-events

For information about water quality at your local swimming spot:

www.lawa.org.nz/swim

Media contact: 

communications@qldc.govt.nz or 03 441 1802.