In early October 2003 Kempsey Shire Council commenced a Faecal coliform monitoring program as a component of Council's Beachwatch Program with additional monitoring sites included to supplement the Oyster Growers Quality Assurance Program.
Council collects and analyses water samples on a weekly basis, where possible, at ten locations in the Kempsey Shire. These sites are:
Water Quality Indicators
Kempsey Shire Council tests for Enterococci as the primary indicator organism for urban pollution as recommended by "Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water".
Enterococci is a bacteria found in the intestines of warm blooded animals and as such is an indicator of urban contamination.
Enterococci is viable for long periods in sediments and is tolerant to salt water. It is easily detectable by simple laboratory tests. Enterococci is generally not present in uncontaminated water and the results are available relatively quickly.
Water Quality Guidelines
Council's recreational water quality monitoring program is designed to test for "guideline compliance" at each of the sample sites. This means that results are National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC 1990) Water Quality Guidelines. The NHMRC fuidelines are generally used (by Beachwatch) to compare the results for compliance on a monthly basis.