When the permanent health warning was issued in 2015, BOPRC started research to better understand the source of contaminants, and to inform options to address the issue. This research has indicated that the main types of bacteria found are from ruminants (cows, sheep, deer or goats) with an avian (bird) influence at several locations, probably from birds that nest and feed above the Falls.
Bacteria are coming into the stream from a number of different tributaries, including one with extensive forest cover, in an unpredictable manner.
Water quality indicators such as temperature, nitrate and ammonia levels in Kaiate Stream are good compared to recommended guidelines and indicate a healthy ecosystem. Summer swimming water monitoring showed improving trends in E.coli bacteria levels from 2007 until the 2014-15 summer.
However unsafe levels of E.coli bacteria have been regularly recorded each summer since then. The Kaiate Stream is not swimmable by national guidelines because of high E. coli bacteria levels. Swimming in water with high levels of E.coli bacteria can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, skin, eye and ear infections.
NIWA report on last summer’s results
Weekly bathing results
The Kaiate Stream is unsafe for swimming most of the time, but LAWA shows which other water bodies in the Bay of Plenty are safe to swim in
Live data of the stream flow in Kaiate
Plan for our catchment monitoring this summer
Snapshot of catchment
Updated snapshot based on the NIWA report
QMRA study (once released by MfE)
Tangata Whenua work