One of the Bay of Plenty's most popular beaches has been closed after a sewage leak.

Tauranga City Council yesterday said a sewage overflow had entered Pilot Bay near the boat ramp at about 4.20pm.

The source of the overflow was reported on Adams Ave, where a suspected blockage was being cleared.

Yellow and red signs were installed on street poles along the beach to warn people not to swim in Pilot Bay but when the Bay of Plenty Times visited the area, people were still swimming.


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Tauranga City Council communications advisor Marcel Currin said water quality samples would be taken this morning.

"We understand there were some rags blocking a manhole. Test results take 48 hours but they can sometimes get an early heads up if the results are looking clear so hoping to get that Wednesday morning," he said.

The council estimated an all-clear on Thursday morning, if not prior.

Mr Currin said warning sign buoys were put in the water yesterday afternoon to help advise swimmers.

Brookfield resident Amanda Anaru had just walked around Mauao with her two children, Nala and Marley Anaru-Clark, when they decided to go for a dip at the popular swimming spot.

The swim ended after a member of the public warned them about the sewage leak, she said.

"It's pretty gross to have that in the water. Pilot Bay is so beautiful too."


Bay of Plenty visitor Sue Biggar said she was sitting on the beach at Pilot Bay and heard young adults on their paddle boards commenting, they could see sewage in the water.

The Te Awamutu resident often came and stayed at Mount Maunganui and swam in Pilot Bay as it was the perfect location to train for triathlons.

"There are people out here everyday swim training, not to mention the recreational swimming too."

Mrs Biggar said she would not be going back in the water during her stay.

Previous closure:

* Pilot Bay was also closed to public on December 23 after wastewater contaminations. A commercial fishing vessel in Tauranga Harbour was found to be taking on water and while booms were deployed the vessel's sewage tank appeared to be the problem after being emptied into a sucker truck.