Recreational water quality

Our popular swimming spots are sampled weekly between November and April as part of Council's Recreational Water Quality Monitoring program.

We collect samples from a beach site and 13 lake sites, which are tested for enterococci bacteria. The presence of enterococci is an indication that the water may contain harmful bacteria or viruses.

Water quality information for our other ocean beaches can be found at Beachwatch Hunter Beaches.

A swimming site can receive between one and four stars depending on its performance that week.

What Star ratings mean

Star rating

Enterococci category
(colony forming units per 100ml)

<41 Good - bacterial levels are safe for bathing
41–200 Fair - bacterial levels indicate an increased risk of illness to bathers - particularly vulnerable persons
201–500 Poor - bacterial levels indicate a substantially increased risk of illness to bathers
>500 Bad - bacterial levels indicate a significant risk of illness to bathers

Water quality at our ocean beaches and Lake Macquarie bathing sites is typically good, however the common sources of faecal pollution are stormwater and sewerage overflows that may occur during wet weather. For this reason is it recommended to avoid swimming for several days after heavy rain, particularly if you see water is discoloured by stormwater runoff.

The monitoring program has ended for the 2021-22 season. Sampling will resume in November 2022.