Heavy rain wipes out bay beaches


Wet summer: The weather forecast was for one month’s rain in a day and, as these pictures show, early campers, a truck driver and businesses were all affected by the deluge. Pictures: Yanni

HEAVY rain and un-summery weather late last week was expected to further degrade water quality at peninsula beaches “for at least the next few days”, the Environment Protection Authority says.

“There’s a 28 degree day forecasted for Wednesday (19 December) so EPA is encouraging people to check the water quality website before swimming and consider the local pool instead.”

Thursday’s thunderstorms dumped as much as 48mm of rain in bayside areas and showers are forecast to continue this week.

“These heavy rains will result in poor water quality for a number of days,” EPA marine specialist applied scientist Alison Kemp said.

“Heavy rains affect water quality in the bay because, as the rain flows into stormwater drains, it collects everything from leaves and litter to animal waste and chemicals. The stormwater then discharges into the bay.

“We know most people aren’t keen to swim while it’s cold and raining, but poor water quality can persist for many days after the rain event when the weather may have improved.

“Even though it’s summer, these events are not uncommon for Melbourne and we actually had a similar week of forecast poor quality due to storms last December.

“We encourage everyone to keep up to date with daily water quality forecasts at the Yarra and bay websites.”

Beach-goers can sign up to receive SMS alerts when water quality at their nominated beaches is poor and see alerts on issues affecting the bay and its water catchments.

Ms Kemp said people could help improve water quality by picking up after their dog, putting litter in the bin and washing their car on the grass to stop soapy run-off. This ensures stormwater is as free of contaminants as possible.

Report pollution to EPA’s 24-hour hotline 1300 372 842.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 18 December 2018


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