About Water Quality Sampling

This page explains how swimming water quality testing is carried out in the Tasman District.

Two-yearly Cycle

A two-yearly sampling cycle is used. One year all sites are sampled; the following year a reduced number of sites are tested. The reduced sampling plan includes the most popular beaches in the area - Lee River Reserve, Rabbit Island, Mapua, Kaiteriteri, Takaka River at Paynes Ford and Pohara.

What Do We Test For?

Coastal water is tested for enterococci and fresh water is tested for Escherichia coli  (E. coli).

Enterococci and E.coli live in the gut of warm-blooded animals and are associated with both harmless and disease-causing bacteria (pathogens). Their presence indicates that faecal matter can be found in the water and that pathogens may be present. These tests are the standard indicator of potential risk.

Ministry Guidelines

Sites are sampled following Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health guidelines. Further information about why and how sampling is carried out is available from the Ministry for the Environment.

Which Sites Are Monitored?

The decision about which sites get monitored is based on the risk of contamination by disease-causing organisms and the number of swimmers. Estimates of the numbers of people using over 50 of Tasman’s most popular river swimming holes and coastal beaches was collected during the 2010-11 summer. This information is also used for improving the management of facilities at particular Council reserves.

More information can be found in the following report.

Related Information

More detailed information about swimming water can be found in the following end-of-season and summary reports: