Christchurch whitebaiters are being reminded of the ongoing water quality issues with the Avon/Ōtākaro and the Heathcote/Ōpāwaho rivers in Christchurch this whitebait season.
Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says although river quality is generally back to pre-quake levels, whitebaiters still need to take special care because of possible sewage overflows.
“Sewage overflows are still occurring intermittently and whitebaiters should look for overflow signage upstream of where they are whitebaiting,” Dr Pink says.
“During periods of rainfall there are elevated bacterial levels in the rivers because of storm water discharge. It’s important that all river users avoid contact with the rivers for 48 hours after heavy rainfall.”
Dr Pink says even without the chance of sewage overflows, whitebaiters would still be advised to avoid the city’s rivers if they can.
“Before the earthquake, Christchurch’s waterways were contaminated with duck and dog faeces and as a result rarely met recreational water standards. This is still the case,” Dr Pink says.
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