The six ocean beaches in the north of the Central Coast have all received a Good rating in the 2020-21 State of the Beaches report, released recently by the State Government, with Soldiers Beach the only one to have slipped, from a Very Good rating the previous year.
Lakes Beach, The Entrance, North Entrance, Toowoon Bay and Shelly Beach have all maintained the status quo in preserving their Good rating from the previous report.
The annual report provides an overview of the water quality at swimming locations monitored under the Beachwatch and Beachwatch Partnership programs across NSW.
Swimming sites are graded Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor or Very Poor in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2008 Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Waters.
Estuarine waterways to the north didn’t fare so well, with lagoons at Gwandalan, Chain Valley Bay and Canton Beach all maintaining a Poor rating from last year’s report.
Ocean baths at Cabbage Tree Bay and The Entrance achieved a Good rating, along with estuarine baths at Summerland Point, but other estuarine baths at Yattalunga, Mannering Park and Lake Munmorah all remained static with a Poor rating.
The report said estuarine sites are generally not as well-flushed as ocean beaches, and so the time for pollution to disperse and dilute is longer.
It warned people should avoid swimming in estuaries during and for up to three days following rainfall, or if there are signs of pollution.
The report said water quality at lake/lagoon sites often depends on how close the swimming area is to the ocean and whether the entrance is open to the ocean.
Central Coast Council Director Environment and Planning, Scott Cox, said the report was an important resource in helping Council manage water quality at swimming sites across the region.
“Estuarine sites – such as our coastal lagoons, Brisbane Water, Tuggerah Lakes and Lake Macquarie – are particularly susceptible to stormwater pollution due to the slower natural flushing process,” he said.
“We should not, however, rely solely on the natural flushing process for the health of our waterways, we need to work collaboratively to manage catchment runoff and other related impacts to reduce pollutant sources entering (them).”
Cox said Council has a number of projects underway, some in partnership with the NSW Government, that are focused on improving water quality.
He said works in place include extensive water quality testing of the waterways and testing and upgrades throughout the sewer and stormwater networks.
The State of the Beaches report can be viewed at NSW Government’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s website, environment.nsw.gov.au.
Community members can view daily forecasts of water quality at environment.nsw.gov.au/beach.
The Terrigal and Coastal Lagoons Audit is underway and community members can see details on Council’s website.