Second woman reports rash after swim

• Harbour declared safe for aquathon

• Hope for trade lifts as water improves

Another woman who swam in Wollongong Harbour last week has broken out in a rash she believes was caused by sewage in the water.

The Figtree woman went swimming in the harbour last Thursday, the day before it was closed to swimmers because of a sewage leak, and developed small ‘‘blister-like’’ bumps on her legs and one arm on Thursday night.

Her condition got progressively worse, with ‘‘uncountable bumps’’ that ‘‘all seem to itch at once’’.

She attributes the rash to her dip.

‘‘I could be wrong – maybe it’s God knows what – but it just seems a bit suspicious [to develop it] straight after,’’ she said.

On Tuesday, a Wollongong woman contacted the Mercury when she developed pimple-like spots on her palms and also had an upset stomach, and skin peel off a finger, following a swim in the harbour last Thursday.

Sewage has been leaking from a pipe near the Fishermen’s Co-op building at the harbour’s southern end since January 11.

Tests conducted by Sydney Water found high levels of ammonia, faecal coliforms and enterococci in water close to the leak. High levels of ammonia are indicative of the presence of raw sewage.

The northern end of the harbour has been reopened to bathers  but the southern end remains closed.

The Figtree woman, who did not want to be named,  told her doctor about her swim in the tainted water and was prescribed antibiotics and antibacterial cream, as well as antifungal cream ‘‘just in case’’.

Her children were planning to compete in the Australia Day Aquathon, which begins in the harbour. While her eldest is still determined to take part, her youngest will not due to concerns the water will not be clean.

‘‘I think it’s just a bit risky,’’ she said.

A private wastewater pipe servicing the Fishermen’s Co-op building has been identified as the source of the leak. Property owner NSW Trade and Investment, Crown Lands is undertaking repairs to the pipe, which should be completed today.

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