From the tranquil waters of Pea Soup to the sandy shores of East Beach, Port Fairy attracts a range of water users all year round. Whether you’ve brought along your bathers, surf board, snorkel or fishing rod, Port Fairy’s beaches are a great place to visit.

To help ensure swimmers and other recreational users can be confident they are enjoying the cool, clean Southern Ocean waters that Port Fairy is recognised for, its beaches are being monitored and reported as part of a pilot program.

Moyne Shire Council is partnering with Wannon Water to deliver a 12-month trial based on the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) monitoring program for Port Phillip Bay. The aim of the program is to better understand potential health risks, identify possible pollution sources and inform future management actions. The Port Fairy Ocean Water Quality Monitoring pilot program involves collecting several samples from the shoreline of Port Fairy’s popular recreational beaches – Golfies, East Beach, The Passage, South Beach and Pea Soup. In addition to the beach samples are also taken from stormwater outlets, at the mouth of the Moyne River and at the edge of the Wannon Water outfall mixing zone. These additional samples will aid to inform how beach water quality may be impacted.

The pilot program involves collection of additional samples, with fortnightly sampling during peak recreational use until the end of March 2022. Monthly sampling will occur from April to the end of October 2022. Beach water will also be sampled following significant weather events such as heavy rainfall or very high tides, and, if plumes of algal blooms are observed or reported.

For more details and the latest results please contact Wannon Water on 1300 926 666.

Water quality key


Suitable for swimming


May not be suitable for swimming


Not suitable for swimming

Click on each location for more details

Understanding The Results

Water quality is categorised as good, fair or poor.
Good means that results showed water quality to be suitable for swimming.
Fair means water quality may not be suitable for swimming. Check for signs of pollution before you swim. For example; stormwater drains flowing, murky water, bad smell, or rubbish.
Poor means water quality is probably not suitable for swimming.
Please note: When a forecast is not available, you can protect your health by not swimming near drains or river outlets for 48 hours after rain.

How is the quality determined?

Fortnightly sampling during the summer months and monthly sampling during the colder months.
Water samples are tested for bacteria found in faeces called enterococci (found in all warm-blooded animals and may enter the water way through agricultural runoff and sewage discharge). Enterococci is the best indicator for measuring pollution from faecal contamination at beaches.
Water quality is assessed against the Environmental Reference Standard which came into effect in July 2021 to support the Environmental Protection Act 2017 and Environmental Protection Regulations 2021.

Are you sampling the brown floating substances?

During the routine sampling program, Wannon Water will be sampling any floating substances that are observed. These substances are most likely to be naturally occurring, tiny marine floating plants call algae. Marine algal blooms occur year-round, but are more common in summer, as warm, sunny, calm weather is favourable to their development. Marine algae are more commonly seen during period of above average summer rainfall and warmer temperatures.
Marine algal blooms seen in Victoria are rarely harmful to human health. Samples will be taken to analyse under microscope to identify the algal species, and determine if it is harmful or not. As a precaution, people are advised to avoid contact with the floating substance and if contact does occur, to wash with clean water.

What to do if you have been exposed to poor water quality

In poor water quality, bacteria may lead to illness. A common illness from swimming in poor quality water is gastroenteritis. You should see your doctor if you suspect you are unwell from swimming.

Further information

For more information about the pilot program, please contact Wannon Water on 1300 926 666.