The Community and Public Health division of
Canterbury District Health Board has issued a health warning following ongoing
high levels of faecal bacteria in samples taken from sites along the Ashburton/
These results are consistent with monitoring in
previous years, which have resulted in Environment Canterbury grading four sites
on the Ashburton/Hakatere River as ‘very poor’ – 550 parts faecal matter per
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair
Humphrey says people using the Ashburton/ Hakatere River should be aware the
water quality is not considered suitable for recreation because of the health
risks caused by the bacteria and other potential pathogens present in the
Water contaminated by human or animal faecal
matter may contain a range of disease causing micro-organisms such as viruses,
bacteria and protozoa, Dr Humphrey says.
“In most cases the ill-health effects from
exposure to contaminated water are minor and short-lived,” he says.
“However, there is the potential for more
serious diseases, such as hepatitis A, giardia, cryptosporosis, campylobacter
Ashburton District Council is erecting warning
signs along the river to advise the public of the health risks.
There are a number of recreational sites along
the river but warning signs cannot be placed at every river access point.
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