People are being warned against swimming or entering the water in the inner harbour – particularly in the Taranaki Street Wharf area between Whairepo Lagoon and the waterfront area around Shed 6 - due to the presence of raw sewage.
Recent testing of the stormwater near Taranaki Wharf by Wellington Water has shown very high levels of faecal coliforms (bacteria that indicate there is sewage contamination). This has made the water unsafe for recreational use such as swimming and jumping from the diving boards in the area.
Swimming or entering water with potential sewage contamination can lead to symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or infections of the eyes, ears, nose and throat. If you have any health concerns following contact with the water in this area then contact your doctor or Healthline 0800 611 116.
Warning signs have been posted in the area and Greater Wellington’s Is it Safe to Swim? web pages have been updated to reinforce the warning, which will remain in place until testing shows that water quality has returned to safe levels.
The source of the contamination appears to be illegal connections between sewage and stormwater pipes, leading to potential contamination of harbour water near the stormwater outlet. Wellington Water is continuing to investigate and support action to fix identified problems.
People can still enjoy swimming in the harbour by entering the water at Oriental Bay or other points distant from the inner harbour.