20 HK beaches get ‘good’ water quality rating

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Repulse Bay beach was one of the 20 beaches that had a "good" water quality rating.

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) today (May 18) released the latest list of Hong Kong beaches that had “good” or “poor” water quality.

In a statement, the EPD said it tested the water quality of 37 gazetted beaches and one non-gazetted beach (Discovery Bay) that are open for swimming to the public.

Twenty beaches were rated as Good (Grade 1), 11 as Fair (Grade 2) and seven as Poor (Grade 3), based on their E. coli bacteria levels, the EPD said.

“Beaches are classified into four grades by calculating the geometric mean E. coli level of the five most recent sampling occasions and the worst grade is also given to a beach when the last E. coli reading exceeds a high figure,” it added.

The worst rating is “Very Poor” or Grade 4, which would mean an E. Coli count of 610 to 1,600 per 100 milliliter. None of the 78 beaches in the latest list got a “very poor” rating.

The Grade 1 beaches included Cheung Chau Tung Wan Beach, Lower Cheung Sha Beach, Chung Hom Kok Beach, Middle Bay Beach, Clear Water Bay Second Beach, Repulse Bay Beach, Deep Water Bay Beach, Silverstrand Beach, Discovery Bay, South Bay Beach.

Hap Mun Bay Beach, St Stephen’s Beach, Hung Shing Yeh Beach, Tong Fuk Beach, Kiu Tsui Beach, Trio Beach, Kwun Yam Beach, Turtle Cove Beach, Lo So Shing Beach, and Upper Cheung Sha Beach.

These beaches had an very small E. coli count of “24 or less per 100ml” and their water quality is considered as “Good.”

The Grade 2 beaches were Big Wave Bay Beach, Golden Beach, Butterfly Beach, Kadoorie Beach, Cafeteria New Beach, Pui O Beach, Cafeteria Old Beach, Shek O Beach, Castle Peak Beach, Stanley Main Beach, and Clear Water Bay First Beach.

These beaches had an E. coli count of “25 to 80 per 100ml” and their water quality is considered as “Fair.” For every 1,000 swimmers in these becahes, only one up to 10 swimmers could develop minor skin of stomach problems.

The Grade 3 beaches included: Anglers’ Beach, Lido Beach, Approach Beach, Ma Wan Tung Wan Beach, Casam Beach, Ting Kau Beach, and Hoi Mei Wan Beach.

These beaches had an E. coli count of “181 to 610 per 100 m’.” This “poor” water quality could lead to “11 to 15 swimmers for every 1,000 swimmers” getting a minor skin or gastrointestinal problem.

The EPD said that, compared with the grading released last week, Big Wave Bay Beach, Golden Beach, Pui O Beach and Shek O Beach have been changed from Grade 1 to Grade 2, and Approach Beach, Casam Beach and Ma Wan Tung Wan Beach from Grade 2 to Grade 3.

“The changes are generally within the normal range of fluctuation of the bacteriological water quality of the beaches,” an EPD spokesman said.

While the ratings represent the general water quality at the beaches, the EPD spokesman reminded members of the public that water quality could be temporarily affected during and after periods of heavy rain.

Bathers should avoid swimming at beaches for up to three days after a storm or heavy rainfall, he added.

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