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Monitoring coastal recreational water quality

beachwatchEach year from October to April Council monitors and reports on water quality of 22 local swimming areas, including eleven ocean beaches, four lagoon sites and seven tidal baths/rock pools.

These sites are monitored weekly for enterococci, a group of bacteria which indicates if water is polluted by stormwater or sewage surcharge and if the area is unsuitable for swimming.

Results of Beachwatch monitoring are updated weekly on the Council and Beachwatch websites to keep residents and visitors informed of the water quality and whether to avoid swimming at certain times.

Some of Gosford’s swimming sites experience stormwater pollution after rain. Council recommends that people avoid swimming for a day after rainfall at coastal beaches, and for up to three days in lagoons or estuarine areas.

Weekly Beachwatch Results

Results for Tuesday, 08.04.2014
Beach Watch Results Map for April 2014


Information on Ratings

The following table provides a more detailed explanation of the rating system in place.

Colour Rating
Green Circle Good - bacterial levels are safe for bathing according to National Health & Medical Research Council guidelines.
Yellow Circle Fair - bacterial levels indicate an increased risk of illness to bathers, particularly those with lower immune function such as the elderly and young children.
Orange Circle Poor - Bacterial levels indicate a substantially increased risk of illness to bathers.
Swimming is not recommended at this site.
Red Circle Bad - Bacterial levels indicate a high risk of illness to bathers.
It is recommended to avoid swimming at this site.
Water Quality Sign at Beach

Water Quality Management

Permanent swimming advisory signs are located at swimming sites that may experience poor water quality following rainfall. These signs read "This area can be affected by stormwater pollution for up to three days following heavy rain. Swimming during this period is not recommended."

During periods of poor water quality, Council installs additional temporary swimming advisory signs or will close the beach until water quality improves.

Council lifeguards and Surf Life Saving Clubs are kept informed about local water quality and any issues relating to the health and safety of swimmers.

Incidences of algal blooms are also investigated and responded to by Council under the guidance of the NSW Office of Water. When algal blooms occur, temporary swimming signs are installed and beaches may be closed to ensure the safety of swimmers.

Want to know more?

For more information on algae, visit the NSW Office of Water Website.

Jetty by the beach

Management Plans & Education Programs

Gosford City Council has a number of management plans and community education programs which focus on key water quality and catchment management issues. These include:

  • Annual Health of the Waterways report
  • On-site Sewage Management Strategy
  • Estuary Management Plan for Brisbane Water
  • Lower Hawkesbury Estuary Management Plan
  • Coastal Zone Management Plan for Gosford’s Coastal Lagoons and
  • Gosford District Stormwater Management Plan.

Need More Information?

For more information, contact Council’s Environmental Health and Protection Officers on 4325 8222.