Environmental issues

Water

Botany Bay

Location

Botany Bay is a wide, shallow bay. The Cooks River and Georges River flow into the bay. Land use in the Botany Bay catchment includes residential, industrial, commercial, recreational and bushland (including national parks and nature reserves).

Botany Bay, Randwick, Rockdale and Sutherland councils operate in this area.

Sites: Ramsgate Baths, Monterey Baths, Brighton-Le-Sands Baths, Kyeemagh Baths,
Foreshores Beach, Yarra Bay, Frenchmans Bay, Congwong Bay and Silver Beach. For site details see 08483bwaro8ch4bb.pdf (1309 KB)

Compliance with guidelines

Faecal coliform and enterococci compliances varied at sites in Botany Bay during summer 2007-2008 (Table 22).

Five of the nine swimming sites complied at least 87% of the time with both faecal coliform and enterococci guidelines. Ramsgate Baths complied 87% of the time for faecal coliforms and 100% of the time with enterococci criteria. Congwong Bay complied 100% of the time for faecal coliforms and 91% of the time with enterococci criteria. Monterey Baths, Brighton-le-Sands Baths and Silver Beach complied with faecal coliform guidelines 88% of the time and 100% of the time with enterococci criteria.

Kyeemagh Baths complied 84% of the time for faecal coliforms and 78% with enterococci criteria. Yarra Bay complied 100% of the time for faecal coliforms and 66% with enterococci criteria. Foreshores Beach complied 63% of the time for faecal coliforms and 44% with enterococci criteria. Frenchmans Bay complied 72% of the time for faecal coliforms and 56% of the time with enterococci criteria.

The range of indicator bacteria levels measured at Botany Bay, lower Georges River and Port Hacking swimming areas during summer 2007-2008 is shown in Figure 29. Botany Bay sites are highlighted in grey. Bacterial levels at most sites were within the same range measured at other sites in Botany Bay, lower Georges River and Port Hacking. Bacterial levels at Foreshores Beach were slightly higher than at other sites in the region.

Ranking of beaches

All monitored harbour and ocean beach swimming locations in the Hunter, Sydney and Illawarra regions were ranked on the basis of their compliance with swimming guidelines during summer 2007-2008. A total of 41 rankings were determined for the 131 sites monitored for both faecal coliforms and enterococci, with many sites ranked equally.

Congwong Bay ranked fourth, Monterey Baths, Brighton-le-Sands Baths and Silver Beach all ranked equal sixth and Ramsgate Baths ranked equal seventh (Table 22). Yarra Bay, Kyeemagh Baths, Frenchmans Bay and Foreshores Beach ranked lower at twenty-second, twenty-fifth, thirty-seventh and fortieth places respectively.

Actions to improve quality

Actions specific to individual swimming locations are included on the individual 'swimming area' pages. Improvements in water quality within Botany Bay should also be achieved through the implementation of stormwater management plans and council programs.

Stormwater management plans

Local councils have developed Stormwater Management Plans for Mill Pond Creek, Lower Georges River and Cooks River. These plans contain many structural and non-structural actions that will be implemented over the next five years to improve water quality in these waterways and in Botany Bay.

Cooks River Ecology Grant

Rockdale, Kogarah, Canterbury and Marrickville Councils received a grant from the Cooks River Foreshore Improvement Program to undertake an ecological study of the Cooks River in relation to water quality. The project's objective is to establish a cost-effective ecological monitoring program that will develop information and guidelines for the management of tidal vegetation and inform future capital works projects along the riverbanks. Monitoring for this project continued in 2007 and 2008.

City of Botany Bay

Stormwater re-use: As the predominant subsurface material in Botany is sand (which forms an aquifer that drains to Botany Bay), Council has developed guidelines for the design of stormwater drainage systems. The guidelines require stormwater re-use for non-potable purposes for developments wherever possible. Stormwater overflows from such systems can be directed to Council's stormwater system, subject to the provision of stormwater pollution prevention devices to remove litter and sediment.

Orica (former ICI Site) Botany Groundwater Project Community Liaison Committee: Council continues to facilitate and participate in the Botany Groundwater Project Community Liaison Committee, which meets quarterly to review the progress of the Botany Groundwater Cleanup Plan and to update residents and interested parties in the implementation of the plan. The Groundwater Treatment Plant (GTP), which was commissioned in February 2006, continues to pump and treat groundwater from a number of containment lines that bisect the groundwater flow. The containment line located along Foreshores Drive (parallel to Foreshores Beach) is the final capture point for contaminated groundwater flowing towards Botany Bay.

Penrhyn Estuary: In 2006, a human health risk assessment completed on the Penrhyn Estuary area (at the eastern end of Foreshores Beach) found that the exposure risks from contamination within the estuary to swimming and/or consuming fish exceeded designated levels and were determined to be unsafe. Subsequently, the NSW Department of Primary Industries gazetted a fishing ban in the Penryhn Estuary. In conjunction with Orica, DECC installed new warning signage at Penrhyn Estuary, replacing older advisory signs placed by Council. This ban and associated signage are still in operation.

Botany Wetlands Environment Management Steering Committee: The Botany Wetlands flow southwards through the Botany Bay local government area before discharging into Botany Bay at the western end of Foreshores Beach. The Botany Wetlands Steering Committee - composed of various stakeholders, including Botany Bay City Council - was reconvened in December 2005 to review the Botany Wetlands Plan of Management. The review of the management plan has been undertaken to determine what actions have been completed since 2002 and to determine actions for the future.

Port Botany Upgrade Works: As a component of the planned works for Botany Bay, Penrhyn Estuary and Foreshores Beach will undergo changes. The estuary will be closed to pedestrian traffic and a new boat ramp will be built midway along Foreshores Beach. Foreshores Beach shoreline will be renourished with sand to the west of the boat ramp, and a rock retaining wall will be constructed to the east of the boat ramp.

Other activities: Council was involved in Clean-Up Australia Day at Foreshores Beach and Sir Joseph Banks Park. Council also participated in the DECC Household Chemical Collection Day to reduce the risk of chemicals ending up in our waterways, being dumped in public areas, or being stored inappropriately.

Randwick City Council

Soil and water management: Randwick City Council continues to implement the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) soil and water management program. This program aims to prevent degradation of waterways and stormwater systems by minimising the loss of soil and other building materials from building and construction sites.

Summer activities program: Held over a two week period in January, the summer activities program aimed at increasing the understanding and appreciation of marine and coastal water quality and conservation issues through a series of activities for residents and visitors to the area. This year participants enjoyed many new activities in the program, as well as the old favourites including snorkelling at Gordons Bay and Bare Island and learning to surf at Maroubra Beach.

EcoLiving Fair: Randwick's second EcoLiving Fair was held in April to celebrate Earth Day 2008. This provides residents with practical sustainability workshops and demonstrations for the home and garden, such as keeping chemicals and cleaning agents out of the drainage system.

Rainwater tank fact sheet: A rainwater tank fact sheet was developed by Council to encourage residents to install rainwater tanks to conserve water and promote the efficient use of stormwater, which can be used within the premises for flushing of toilets and in laundries, as well as for external uses. This fact sheet is supported by a Council rainwater tank rebate scheme for residents.

Stormwater drain relining: A number of sections of stormwater drains, thought to be close to 100 years old, have been replaced or relined in the last year. This will contribute to improved water quality and flow.

Plastic bags: The local chambers of commerce are working directly with Council to highlight the environmental issues associated with plastic bag use and the benefits that come with a plastic-bag-free city, such as fewer plastic bags in our ocean.

Rockdale Council

Gross pollutant traps (GPT): Council has installed 20 small gully pit traps in the Bardwell Creek Catchment Area. These devices prevent gross pollutants from eventually washing up on the beaches at the northern end of Botany Bay. A further trash rack and four large mesh screens along the Scarborough Ponds Outlet Pipeline have been installed to improve water quality, ventilation and solar access to promote fish access between the ponds and Botany Bay. A large GPT has also been installed at Subway Road Reserve.

Rockdale wetlands corridor: A wetland is planned for construction in Tonbridge Street Reserve. It will treat water flowing from Scarborough Ponds into Botany Bay. Council has also undertaken a habitat improvement program at Landing Lights Wetland to enhance saltmarsh habitat for migratory birds.

Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach Challenge: Council has been recognised in the Keep Australia Beautiful Clean Beach Challenge for Lady Robinson Beach. Lady Robinsons Beach was the 2008 State winner in the Water Conservation award and won the 2008 Water Conservation and Resource Management award categories for the Sydney region. Several aspects of Council operations have contributed to Council achievements, including the installation of gross pollutant traps, daily beach cleaning, Council's green waste mulching program (which reduces organics entering the waterways), and Council's environmental programs.

Sutherland Council

Stormwater Quality Improvement Devices (SQIDs) installation: Sutherland Council has installed a number of SQIDs in the local council area. They will ultimately reduce the amount of land derived pollution entering the waterways and will therefore help to improve water quality.

Table 22: Compliance and Ranking of Botany Bay Sites during Summer 2007-2008

Site

Compliance (%)

Overall rank

(out of 41)

Faecal Coliforms

Enterococci

Ramsgate Baths

87

100

7

Monterey Baths

88

100

6

Brighton-le-Sands Baths

88

100

6

Kyeemagh Baths

84

78

25

Foreshores Beach

63

44

40

Yarra Bay

100

66

22

Frenchmans Bay

72

56

37

Congwong Bay

100

91

4

Silver Beach

88

100

6

Figure 29: Bacterial Levels at Lower Georges River, Botany Bay and Port Hacking Sites during Summer 2007-2008

Page last updated: 24 June 2013