Improved stormwater gives cleaner outlook for local beaches

Improved stormwater gives cleaner outlook for local beaches

Kingborough Council has wrapped up a year-long intensive water quality testing regime across both Kingston and Blackmans Bay beaches.
While testing as part of the Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) through the warmer months continued as normal, Kingborough Council undertook its own testing throughout the year to get a better understanding of its water quality.
“We have seen dramatic improvement, particularly at Blackmans Bay Beach, but also at Kingston Beach,” Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter said.
“That is a credit to our environmental health and engineering teams who have devoted hundreds of hours to testing water quality, collating data and fixing infrastructure.
“Blackmans Bay Beach (south) has gone from being one of the most polluted beaches in greater Hobart, to one of the cleanest.”
The Recreational Water Quality Program (RWQ) Annual Report 2019-20 showed dramatic improvement, stating:
“The two previous RWQ seasons at Blackmans Bay Beach (south) demonstrated poor water quality, however the 2019-20 season has seen a significant improvement.
“Kingborough Council commenced an extensive sampling regime and investigation at the Blackmans Bay and Kingston beaches, taking both recreational water and stormwater outfall samples.

“This sampling regime has been running consistently each week since November of 2018.

“Kingborough Council appointed a Stormwater Investigation Officer who has been able to track sources of contamination back up the catchment to their source, using a combination of methods, including visual inspection, as well as ammonia and bacterial testing.

“This has been successful in locating ageing sewer infrastructure impacting stormwater as well as domestic cross connection issues, which have been promptly rectified by TasWater, Kingborough Council and property owners.”
Cr Winter said a big part of the improvement could be attributed to Council’s decision to appoint its own Stormwater Investigations Officer, Simon Woodhead.

Commencing in 2019, the officer’s activities included:
• Daily checks of the beach stormwater outfalls looking for changes in flows indicating sewer leaks.
• Daily checks of the diversions to sewer, monitoring condition and function, organising repairs where required.
• Testing of stormwater within the catchments to identify the presence of sewer followed by source tracking.
• Identifying faults in the stormwater system and organising maintenance.
• Working with TasWater to identify sewer spills and blockages.
• Collaborating with TasWater in upgrading stormwater and sewer infrastructure to prevent spills and leakage.
• Identifying residential cross connections and organising repairs.
“Having someone getting out of bed in the morning, coming to work to focus on improving environmental water quality has led to a dramatic improvement in our testing results,” Cr Winter said.
“We are collaborating with TasWater extremely well, old infrastructure has been fixed and our low-flow diversions are in place and working.

“We are really excited about the prospect of having people back in the water at the southern end of Blackmans Bay Beach next summer.”
Kingborough Council will now consult with the Tasmanian Government regarding lifting the water quality rating at the beach in preparation for next summer.

Pictured above: Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, Deputy Mayor, Cr Jo Westwood and Kingborough Council’s Stormwater Investigations Officer Simon Woodhead. Kingborough Council undertook its own testing throughout the year to get a better understanding of its water quality alongside the normal testing from Derwent Estuary Program, which has seen a significant improvement in the water quality at local beaches in Blackmans Bay and Kingston. (PS)