Beachwatch - Shoalhaven City Council


Monitoring of water quality at selected Shoalhaven locations is done each week during the summer season. The star rating categories are derived from the microbial assessment categories used in the National Health & Medical Research Council (2008) Guidelines.

Good rating - bacterial levels are safe for bathing according to National Health & Medical Research Council guidelines.

Fair rating - bacterial levels indicate an increased risk of illness to bathers, particularly those with lower immune function such as the elderly and young children.

Poor and Bad ratings - bacterial levels indicate a substantially increased risk of illness to bathers

Further information about the program is available from the Beachwatchwebsite (new window), run by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

Most recent ratings

The most recent samples were taken on 15 January 2020

 Beach Rating - Dec 2019 Rating - Jan 2020 (to 15 Jan)
Shoalhaven Heads beach


Tilbury Cove


Warrain beach


Collingwood beach


Cudmirrah beach


Mollymook beach


Rennies beach


Racecourse beach


Bawley Point beach


Merry beach



Explanation of ratings

(cfu/100ml) category
Rating Meaning
< 41 Good Suitable for swimming
41 - 200 Fair Suitable for swimming
201 - 500 Poor Not suitable for swimming
500 Bad Not suitable for swimming

Note: cfu stands for colony forming units

What you can do

General warnings

  • Avoid swimming during and at least one day after heavy rain at ocean beaches, and for at least three days at harbour beaches, due to the possibility of pollution from stormwater drains.
  • Avoid swimming near storm water drains or sewage outfalls.
  • Avoid swimming if you see signs of pollution such as discoloured water, oil or scum on the water, and litter or other debris floating in the water or on the tide line.

Improve water quality

 Actions to do more often Actions to avoid
Pick up litter in the park or on the street Washing the car in the street
Sweep the gutters and driveways regularly and place the sweepings on the garden or in the compost Hosing dirt off hard surfaces like  paths and driveways, into gutters
Do not allow soil or mulch to be washed or blown off the garden Dropping packaging or cigarette butts on the ground.
Clean up pet droppings and dispose of them thoughtfully Leaving rubbish where bins are already full
Rake up leaves or lawn clippings and use them as mulch on the garden or place them in the compost Hosing leaving and grass clippings into gutters
Grass or replant areas of disturbed soil Washing cement mixers into the gutter
Consider natural alternatives to pest control chemicals Using too much fertilisers. Follow the instructions
Maintain the car, making sure there are no leaks and that the fuel is burned cleanly by keeping the vehicle tuned
Piling sand and soil on areas where it can be washed into the stormwater system.
Use the minimum amount of detergent for cleaning outside Using pesticides, fertiliser and herbicides when rain is forecasted for the same day
Wash brushes and rollers over a sand filter on the lawn Disposing of oil or chemicals into the gutters
Wash cars on the lawn or gravel and use minimal detergent. Empty the soapy water down the sink or toilet. Alternatively, take the car to a car wash where the water gets treated and recycled
Overuse of pesticides and herbicides that could be washed into stormwater from the garden
Make sure sewerage pipes are not connected illegally to stormwater Pouring paint, solvent or cleaners in the gutter or where they may enter drains
Install a rainwater tank
Covering large areas with impervious surfaces e.g. bitumen, concrete
Direct roof runoff from downpipes to the garden  
Replace concrete or other hardsurfaces with permeable surfaces such as timber decks and pavers with gaps between pavers
Get involved with bushcare or landcare projects that restore or protect local waterways

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