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Warning over E.coli in Urenui Estuary

Local News

Privately owned septic tanks are believed to be behind elevated levels of E.coli bacteria found in the Urenui estuary.

Signs have been put up to warn people against taking shellfish from the area and to avoid the mud flats.

Swimming in the river and sea, where the bacteria is diluted, is considered safe unless there has been heavy rain in the previous three days. Heavy rain can flush contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways.

“Early indications show that privately owned septic tanks are the most likely cause of the issue,” NPDC Infrastructure Manager David Langford said.

“We’ll be working with the public to get it sorted as a priority. Our team will inspect all septic tanks in the area and work with property owners to ensure compliance.”

NPDC will also be working with Taranaki Regional Council and the Taranaki District Health Board to monitor the situation, including doing further testing to confirm the source of the bacteria.

Dos and Don’ts:

  • Gather shellfish in the area.
  • Go on the mudflats.
  • Go near pipes in the area.


  • Wash your hands if you’ve been near the mudflats. 
  • Enjoy swimming in the river and sea.