Bendigo E.Coli update

24 January 2018

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is continuing to advise visitors to the Bendigo freedom camping site at Lake Dunstan not to swim, fish, or take water from the immediate lake area, as it continues to be subject to unacceptably high levels of E.Coli.

However, tests at Dairy Creek and Bannockburn have come back as acceptable.

Latest laboratory testing results received yesterday afternoon by LINZ from samples taken late last week and again on Monday at Bendigo confirmed the high levels of the bacteria, and immediate steps were taken to begin informing the public and the relevant authorities.

"We are currently investigating the cause of the contamination and are carrying out further sampling and testing immediately to determine its cause," says DCE Crown Property, Jerome Sheppard. "We expect that this will help us to narrow down its source.

"In the meantime, we advise people to avoid taking water from the immediate lake area or fishing or swimming near Bendigo until it is clear."

Mr Sheppard said it was too early to determine the cause of the contamination, but said LINZ would be immediately closing the site's toilet block in the interim as a precaution and would undertake cleaning and clearing of its tanks. Four additional portable toilets were expected to be in place later today, adding to the current four portable toilets onsite to help manage the demand. These would continue to be cleaned and emptied as required.

"Despite these issues, we are pleased with the overall behaviour of people visiting and using our facilities so far this summer, and are continuing to routinely visit and inspect all of our popular sites to make sure they are well maintained for everyone's enjoyment.

"As with all of our freedom sites, we are reliant on people using them to act responsibly to help keep these areas clean and tidy for everyone."

LINZ has already undertaken significant upgrade work at Bendigo, which also includes plans to install new toilets and bins later this year.

Media enquiries

Email: media@linz.govt.nz or phone: 027 566 5251