Beach water quality

Stormwater runoff from urban, agricultural and industrial areas can contaminate beaches, particularly after rainfall. This is a potential health risk to people during whole body contact (primary contact) activities, such as swimming, diving and surfing; and incidental contact (secondary contact) activities, such as boating, fishing and wading.

Healthy Waterplay Program

The Healthy Waterplay Program is a South East Queensland-wide initiative of Healthy Land Water that assess water quality and provides information to the public about the potential health risks when using recreational waterways. This enables people to make informed decisions about where and when to use waterways for recreation. Learn more about the Healthy Waterplay Program

The Healthy Waterplay Program is supported by local governments including Moreton Bay Regional Council, water utilities, State government, and universities. The Program provides regionally consistent monitoring, reporting and management of human health risks in recreational waterways

What are the health risks?

In polluted waters, swimmers may be exposed to pathogens (germs), which can enter the ears, eyes, nose and mouth. The skin is also directly exposed to infectious agents through swimming, playing or working in polluted waters.

This exposure can lead to a variety of health problems including gastroenteritis, urinary tract infections, flu-like illnesses, dermatitis, ear, nose and throat infections, sinusitis and deep tissue or blood infections through open wounds.

The number of pathogens required to cause infections varies widely between micro-organisms and the general health of an individual. Children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems appear to be at greater risk. Visitors without prior immunity may also be at higher risk than the local population.

General warnings for safe swimming

  • Avoid swimming near stormwater drains, 
  • Avoid swimming at beaches during, and at least one day after, heavy rain in open waterways and beaches, and for at least three days within confined bays and estuaries due to the possibility of pollution from stormwater drains, and
  • Avoid swimming if you see signs of pollution such as discoloured water, oil, scum litter or debris floating on the water or tide line.

For further information regarding the Beach water quality, contact Council or email .

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