Four swimming locations in St George and Sutherland Shire were rated Poor in the annual State of the Beaches report on water quality.
They are Carss Point baths and Oatley Bay baths in the Georges River, Horderns Beach in Port Hacking and Gymea Bay baths in the Hacking River.
In three of the four cases – the exception being Gymea Bay baths –water quality declined from a rating of Good the previous year.
The report said a Poor rating meant a location was “susceptible to faecal pollution and microbial water quality is not always suitable for swimming”.
“During dry weather conditions, ensure that the swimming location is free of signs of pollution, such as discoloured water, odour or debris in the water, and avoid swimming at all times during and for up to three days following rainfall.”
The report said pollution levels during the year were raised by significant rainfall events, including the wettest March in Sydney since 1975 and flooding of the Georges River in June 2016.
Despite this, water quality at all swimming baths in Botany Bay between Sandringham and Kyeemagh was rated Good.
As in previous years, Foreshores Beach, near the airport, was graded as Very Poor.
Ocean beaches from Oak Park to Greenhills Beach were rated Very Good, while Boat Harbour was assessed as Good.
Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton released the report, which rated 84 per cent of NSW swimming sites as Good or Very Good, slightly higher than last year’s result of 83 per cent.
“Beachwatch’s water quality monitoring shows that Sydney’s beach water quality has improved dramatically over the last two decades,” Ms Upton said.
“Last year’s heavy rainfall and certain major storms impacted water quality at a number of estuaries, lagoons and lake swimming sites during the year.”
The Beachwatch program, which was launched in 1989 in response to community concern about sewage pollution on Sydney beaches, is run by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in partnership with 10 councils and Sydney and Hunter water authorities.
State of the Beaches report: goo.gl/aprfYp
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