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Published: 2007-01-01 00:00:00

The Waikato Medical Officer of Health is still advising people to avoid swimming or collecting shellfish in the areas of the Raglan Harbour affected by a sewage spill which occurred on Saturday afternoon.

“Based on the scientific advice received from Environment Waikato, the advice remains in force for people not to swim or collect shellfish in the Raglan Harbour, particularly in the estuary between the township on Marine Parade and the Kopua Motor Camp," says Waikato Medical Officer of Health, Dr Dell Hood.

“While the source of the sewage spill was fixed on Saturday, it is likely that a plume of contaminated water is still contained within the inner harbour. Therefore the warning against swimming in the area will remain in force for at least another 24 hours - and the caution on collecting shellfish is likely to remain in force for an even longer period.”

Environment Waikato duty manager, Rob Dragten, said that water samples taken on Saturday confirmed that a significant amount of untreated sewage had discharged into the harbour, following an electrical failure at the Marine Parade pumping station.

“Scientific calculations indicate that the plume of contaminated water in the estuary is likely to be moving backwards and forwards with the tides,” he said. “While each tide change dilutes and disperses the plume further, until the results of our latest testing are available tomorrow, we are advising that there is still a potential for sewage pollution in the harbour.”

The sewage spill was successfully stopped by Waikato District Council staff on Saturday - and contractors had been working hard yesterday to clean up any visible signs of the overflow.