First round of Lake Macquarie City Council's water quality monitoring program returns top results for estuary

ALL CLEAR: Environmental health inspection officer James McNamara takes a water sample from the lake for testing. “These first results for the season are great news for people enjoying our lake and beaches," he said. Picture: Supplied
ALL CLEAR: Environmental health inspection officer James McNamara takes a water sample from the lake for testing. “These first results for the season are great news for people enjoying our lake and beaches," he said. Picture: Supplied

Here’s some comforting news for locals and visitors planning to get out on – and in – the waters of Lake Macquarie over summer.

Swimming and fishing spots throughout the estuary have received top marks in the first round of Lake Macquarie City Council’s summer water quality monitoring program.

Of 14 sites tested, 12 received the highest four-star rating.

Two others – at Sunshine and Wangi Wangi – received three stars.

Council’s waste, environment and rangers manager, Derek Poulton, said council conducted weekly water quality tests at 13 sites in Lake Macquarie, as well as at Catherine Hill Bay Beach.

“The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has its own Beachwatch program, but our Water Quality Watch program covers areas not tested under their regime,” Mr Poulton said.

“These first results for the season are great news for people enjoying our lake and beaches.

“Overall, we have seen vast improvements in water quality in Lake Macquarie over the past 15 years – much of it due to the work of council and other authorities.”

Council conducts weekly water quality tests at 13 sites in Lake Macquarie, as well as at Catherine Hill Bay Beach. Picture: Supplied

Council conducts weekly water quality tests at 13 sites in Lake Macquarie, as well as at Catherine Hill Bay Beach. Picture: Supplied

However, Mr Poulton said it was important to note that water quality results could be adversely affected by wet weather.

“Due to the enclosed nature of the lake, there is limited natural dilution of stormwater, so water quality can be impacted for several days after heavy rain,” Mr Poulton said.

“Council recommends that people avoid swimming in the lake for at least 48 hours after heavy rainfall, because of the increased risk of pollution from contaminated stormwater.”

Water samples collected by council officers are sent for testing to a National Association of Testing Authorities-certified laboratory.

Mr Poulton said testing sites were chosen to achieve suitable coverage of the lake in the local government area.

The testing program will continue through to April 2019.

Latest Beachwatch results show all Lake Macquarie beach sites tested by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage achieved a top four-star rating, the council said.

More information and weekly Lake Macquarie City Council water testing results are available on council’s Water Quality Watch page.

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