No, those aren’t Baby Ruths floating in the waters of Australian beaches. That is, in the technical phrasing of the word, poop.
Australia’s Environment Policy Association advised residents to avoid all 36 beaches in Melbourne, due to a “poor” water rating. What makes the water “poor” you may ask? Human poop. And this isn’t the first time Australia’s had this problem.
After receiving a month’s worth of rain overnight Sunday, fecal matter fell into the bay. EPA group manager of applied sciences Dr. Anthony Boxshall told The Age that the situation could last several days.
— Environment Protection Authority Victoria (@VicGovEPA) February 5, 2017
“The bay is like a shallow tub and all the catchments drain into it,” he said. “The water stays in the bay for quite some time just because it’s got that little entrance so there’s not much exchange.”
If there is no more rain, the system should return to a swimmable state within a short time. However it could turn into a bigger event if the region receives more rain in the coming days.
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Earlier this year, Melbourne suffered a similar problem when severe rains hit and swept animal and human feces into the beach. That time only 21 of Melbourne’s 36 beaches were deemed unfit for swimming with the “poor” water rating.