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Water Quality

City of Rockdale Water Quality Monitoring Study 2014: Summary

The City of Rockdale is bounded by water - to the west and north by Wolli Creek and Cooks River, to the south by the Georges River and to the east by Botany Bay. These waterways are a key feature of the City and are recognised for their environmental attributes at a Local, State, Commonwealth and International level.

There are 10 sub-catchments within the City that feed into these waterways: Wolli Creek, Bardwell Creek, Bonnie Doon, Spring Street, Muddy Creek, Eve Street, Scarborough Ponds, Waradiel Creek, Bado Berong Creek and Goomun Creek.

Undertaking water quality studies can be useful to determine and monitor changes in water quality which in turn helps determine whether it is suitable for the health of the natural environment and the uses for which the water is required. This water quality information can then be used to help develop management programs and action plans to ensure that the water quality is improved and / or maintained.

Poor water quality has a number of impacts. Toxic chemicals such as heavy metals, oils and grease accumulate in sediments and aquatic life and can reach toxic levels in fish and plants. High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen (often from fertilisers, detergents and old landfill sites) can lead to algal blooms which consume the oxygen that supports aquatic/marine life. This includes blue green algal blooms, of which some outbreaks can be fatal to wildlife and pets.

Litter and dumped rubbish affects not only the visual aesthetics of our waterways but also pose a major health hazard to marine life as aquatic animals can swallow or become tangled in plastic. In addition, faecal coliforms, a sign of sewage overflows, can cause disease and illness to people who come into contact with polluted water.

To help Council identify key water quality issues facing our City, Council commissioned a comprehensive 12-month water quality study of 17 sites within the City in 2012/13. Attached is an outline of the results (please refer to the Rockdale Water Quality Monitoring Study - Part A: Report for full details of each monitoring site).

Key findings from this Study found that many of Rockdale City's waterways suffer from highly elevated nutrient levels while elevated levels of copper were also found at some sites. In addition, many sites were found to have low levels of dissolved oxygen and five waterways, listed below, were considered to be particularly poorly performing.

  1. Bardwell Creek (at Bardwell Valley Golf Course)
  2. Spring Street Channel
  3. Market garden drain within A.S. Tanner reserve (Scarborough Ponds)
  4. Goomun Creek (at Kendall Street Reserve)
  5. Bicentennial Park Wetland

While the results of the 2012/13 water quality study are somewhat reflective of the pressures on waterways in a highly urbanised environment, the findings show the high degree of susceptibility that Rockdale City's creeks, rivers and wetlands have to the adverse impacts from urban runoff, stormwater, sewage overflows, fertiliser usage and the legacy of former landfill sites.

More detailed information on the water quality findings is contained in the Rockdale Water Quality Monitoring Study, Part A

Several activities have already been undertaken or are currently in development to improve water quality within Rockdale Local Government Area and include:

  • Improved maintenance of Gross Pollutant Traps, litter traps - reduces the amount of gross litter such as plastic bottles and bags from entering our waterways
  • Installation of a rain garden at Gilchrist Park, Bexley North - rain gardens treat local stormwater to remove chemicals, nutrients and sediment and allows water retention and absorption which helps replenishes the water table
  • Installation of a rain garden and creek bank revegetation at Coolibah Reserve, Bardwell Valley - creek bank revegetation provides erosion control during flooding events and increases the vegetation corridor for small bird and animal habitat
  • Installation of floating reed beds at Bicentennial Park, Rockdale - floating reed beds are rafts of vegetation used in lakes to treat water quality issues and reduce algal blooms
  • Upgrade of aeration devices in Scarborough Ponds, Monterey - replenish low oxygen levels lower in the water column helping to minimise odour issues and reduce anaerobic conditions
  • Community education programs (eg Drain is just for rain) to improve community's appreciation and advocacy for the City's waterways

Additional Document: Rockdale Water Quality Monitoring Study, Part B: Appendices

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