12 February 2018
The source of E.Coli contamination in Lake Dunstan at Central Otago’s Bendigo freedom camping site has been traced to pollution from ducks creating unacceptably high levels of bacteria.
Jerome Sheppard, LINZ Deputy Chief Executive of Crown Property, said laboratory testing had confirmed the results, though warning signs will still remain in place until bacteria levels reduce to acceptable levels.
"Samples taken opposite the campsite and both up and downstream continue to show high levels of E.Coli, so the warnings will continue to remain in place for now," Mr Sheppard said.
"However, given that the test results confirm the contamination is not from the toilets or from other human sources, we will be looking to reopen the toilet block at Bendigo as soon as is reasonably practical. We will also keep the portable toilets brought into help manage demand open as well, given that we still have high numbers of visitors."
LINZ initially closed and cleaned the toilet block as a precautionary measure as soon as it was alerted to the contamination issue in late January.
Mr Sheppard said water quality at Bendigo would continue to be monitored, and the public advised as soon as the contamination dropped to acceptable levels. LINZ would also seek advice on whether anything could be done to manage the source of the contamination.
"In the meantime, continued monitoring by our staff and contractors of our campsites shows people are acting responsibly and respectfully, despite the high numbers of visitors.
"We’re really pleased with the behaviour overall and thank everyone who has done their part to keep these sites clean and tidy for everyone’s enjoyment."
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