The Environment Protection Authority has issued a public health alert on Thursday that tells beachgoers to avoid Adelaide’s beaches due to health risks. The EPA states that the waters in Henley Beach, Hallett Cove and Christies Beach are polluted due to the harmful debris brought about by the severe storm last week.
“The floods are quite unusual. They’ve picked up a lot of materials off agricultural crops, paddocks and roadways,” says EPA’s Peter Dolan. “Also chemicals and things that might otherwise be stripped out by reed beds and the various stormwater cleaning things, they’re sort of overridden because of the volume of water.”
It remains unclear whether authorities have started to perform water testing in these areas. Environment Minister Ian Hunter’s office has not commented on this yet.
Normally, stormwater discharges decrease within two to three days, but the water volume in city drains could prolong this problem. EPA spokesman Chris Metevelis adds that a monitoring system had determined that water was too murky and turbid, which could reduce visibility and endanger a swimmer’s life.
A spokeswoman for SA Health also says that the discolored water can cause stomach upsets, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal diseases. The spokeswoman advicss the public to return at the beach only when the discolored water has cleared.
Individuals still swam at Glenelg on Thursday despite the warning. Apparently, they were unaware of the EPA’s announcement. A spokeswoman for the City of Holdfast Bay council adds that they were not told about the warning.
The Onkaparinga Council also said that they did not know about the Environment Protection Authority’s warning on their website. They would not say if they have taken action to solve the problem, including putting signs on the beach.
Meanwhile, SA Health maintains that catching and eating fish from the Gulf would not cause any health problems.