Health reminder about sewage discharge after heavy rain

Monday May 6, 2013

The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board is warning people to avoid beaches and rivers, following the heavy rain that has fallen across the region today (Monday, May 6, 2013).
Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the heavy rain on Sunday night and on Monday has resulted in added pressure on the sewerage system.
Sewage overflow discharges have been notified by the Christchurch City Council into the Avon/Ōtākaro River, Heathcote/Opawaho River and Akaroa Harbour.
“Water quality in the Avon and Heathcote Rivers rarely meets recreational water standards, but at the moment both these rivers are particularly contaminated and contact with these waterways should definitely be avoided,” Dr Humphrey says.
“People should in general avoid rivers and the beaches for at least two days after any significant rainfall event, not only this one. This means it’s not safe to drink water from rivers or use the rivers or estuary for recreational use.”
For more information about recreational water quality visit the Environment Canterbury website:
For further information, please see our Media Guide page.
Page last reviewed: 09 July 2013