People must avoid beaches, rivers and other waterways

Friday June 17, 2011

Health officials are warning the risk of a gastroenteritis outbreak is extremely high following Monday’s (June 13, 2011) earthquakes and aftershocks.

The Community and Public Health Division of Canterbury District Health Board is reminding the public to avoid all beaches, rivers and waterways because the recent  activity has resulted in more damage to sewerage pipes and increased levels of untreated human sewage being discharged into local rivers, the estuary and subsequently into the sea at beaches adjacent to Christchurch.

Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Ramon Pink says testing has confirmed water at some Christchurch beaches is contaminated at levels that could make people very ill from contact.

“It is vital people adhere to this warning as the current situation means there is a significant risk of outbreaks of gastroenteritis,” Dr Pink says.

“We want everyone to avoid contact with all rivers, sea water, ponds, puddles or other surface water around Christchurch.”

This includes doing recreational activities such as kayaking, rowing and surfing. People should also not fish or gather shellfish from Christchurch waterways, including the estuary, he says.

“We are concerned about personal well-being, but even more so about the risk of a significant outbreak of illness in our damaged city.”

The water at all beaches between the Waimakariri River and Lyttelton Harbour should be avoided. The affected beaches include: 

  • Waimairi Beach

  • North Beach

  • New Brighton Beach

  • South Brighton Beach

  • Christchurch Estuary

  • The beaches at Sumner and Scarborough

Environment Canterbury, Christchurch City Council and CDHB will advise people when it is safe to resume recreation and shellfish collection in Christchurch waterways and beaches.​​

Page last reviewed: 14 February 2014