The quality of water in streams that cross beaches may not be as good as the sea water quality. Freshwater streams can sometimes contain more bacteria than sea water, particularly after heavy rain.
After prolonged periods of heavy rain the quality of both stream water and the sea (where the stream discharges into it) may be contaminated due to surface water run-off from a variety of sources including agricultural land, roads, animals, and septic tanks. Therefore, there may be an increased risk of infection.
Local authorities may put up a sign that the water is unsuitable for bathing if the inlet stream has been tested and found to be contaminated. However, these streams are generally not subject to testing.
Therefore good health advice is:
- Do not drink or swallow water from beach streams
- Avoid splashing stream water into your mouth
- Wash hands carefully with clean tap or bottled water before eating or handling food