Environment and Waste

Beachwatch Program

From October to April each year council monitors and reports on the 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 - to determine if any area is not suitable for swimming.

Results of Beachwatch monitoring are updated weekly on the council and Beachwatch websites, providing up to date information for residents and visitors on water quality and whether to avoid swimming at certain locations and/or times.

Beachwatch Star Ratings Map 17.10.2016

Information on ratings

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



green circle

Good - Bacterial levels are safe for bathing according to National Health and 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.

amber 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.

Pollution following rain

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

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 closes the site 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.

Management plans and education programs

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.

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