Beachwatch and Harbourwatch 1997 Season Report
This report describes the monitoring and reporting activities at Sydney Metropolitan, Hunter and Illawarra ocean beaches and at Sydney’s estuarine bathing areas during the Summer Season 1996-1997, which covers the period from 1 October 1996 to 30 April 1997.
Details: Chapter 1 bw19971.pdf (PDF format, 839 KB)
The Beachwatch Program
Only three beaches monitored in the Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra beach water quality monitoring programs had less than 100% compliance with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guideline for faecal coliforms, the primary bacteria used to indicate the presence of faecal contamination in water used for recreation.
These beaches were Malabar (87%) and Boat Harbour (81%) in Sydney, and Fishermans Beach (72%) in the Illawarra. All Hunter beaches monitored complied with faecal coliform criteria 100% over the season. Lower compliance rates resulted at some beaches for the secondary bacterial indicator, enterococci.
Malabar Beach is affected by outflow from two large stormwater drains at the northern end of the beach. The EPA is coordinating the development of a stormwater strategy, with the assistance of local government and other agencies, to develop plans to improve water quality.
The cliff‑face sewage outfall at Potter Point is a major source of faecal contamination at the northern end of Bate Bay and is the most likely cause of elevated bacterial levels at Boat Harbour. Sydney Water Corporation has completed an environmental impact statement on options for upgrading the Cronulla Sewage Treatment Plant, which discharges effluent from the Potter Point outfall.
Fishermans Beach is adjacent to the Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plant which discharges primary treated effluent from the shoreline at Red Point. A major program to clean up the Illawarra’s beaches was launched at the end of last year by the Minister for Urban Affairs and Planning. The program will see a full upgrade of the Sydney Water sewage treatment plants in the Illawarra.
Details: Chapter 2 – Northern Sydney Ocean Beaches bw19972a.pdf (PDF format, 2631 KB)
Details: Chapter 2 – City and Southern Sydney Ocean Beaches bw19972b.pdf (PDF format,1784 KB)
Details: Chapter 2 – Hunter Region Beaches bw19972c.pdf (PDF format, 1867 KB)
Details: Chapter 2 – Illawarra Region Beaches bw19972d.pdf (PDF format, 2045 KB).
The Harbourwatch Program
The Harbourwatch program showed much lower compliance levels at some of the monitored sites. The most notable of these sites was Barrenjoey Beach located in Pittwater, which complied 38% with Beachwatch reporting criteria for faecal coliforms over the season. Lower compliance rates were measured at some beaches for the secondary bacterial indicator, enterococci.
Extra sites were monitored in the Pittwater sampling program during the summer season to help identify and remedy pollution sources in the area. Harbourwatch will continue to work closely with Pittwater Council, especially in the areas of Barrenjoey Beach and Winji Jimmi Bay.
A marked improvement in water quality at Darling Harbour has occurred this summer. Last year Darling Harbour complied less than 10% with faecal coliform criteria over the season compared with a 74% compliance this summer. A collapsed sewer and a blocked sewer were identified and repaired last year as a result of the establishment of a joint working party comprising the EPA, Sydney Water, Darling Harbour Authority, Sydney City and South Sydney Councils and the Waterways Authority. The working party will continue to monitor results from Darling Harbour to further reduce impacts in the area.
Details: Chapter 3 – Pittwater bw19973a.pdf (PDF format, 1106 KB)
Details: Chapter 3 – Sydney Harbour bw19973b.pdf (PDF format, 2913 KB)
Details: Chapter 3 – Botany Bay, Georges River & Port Hacking bw19973c.pdf (PDF format, 1863 KB)
Reports - quality assurance and communication
Two special reports have been included in this season’s report. A report on the ongoing Beachwatch Microbiological Quality Assurance Program is presented; the aim of the program is to gain an understanding of the reliability of routine data provided by the contracted laboratory. The results show that Beachwatch microbiological data are generally reliable and that the results would not be substantially different if another reputable laboratory were used.
A report on the communications initiatives undertaken by Beachwatch during the 1996-97 summer season is also presented. Initiatives of particular significance were the introduction of community reporting in the Illawarra, social research into the information needs of beach users in the Sydney region, and commencement of a trial signage program in collaboration with Manly Council.
Details: Chapter 4 bw19974.pdf (PDF format, 627 KB)
Special studies - Ocean and harbour rainfall recovery
There are two special studies outlined in this report. They both consider post-rainfall recovery at swimming sites, with one study investigating selected ocean beaches and the other concerned with selected harbour swimming beaches and enclosures. Results of the ocean beaches study confirm previous wet weather studies, in that bacterial densities at the four chosen beaches declined to baseline levels within 24 hours after the cessation of significant rainfall. Because there was prolonged dry weather during the harbour beaches study, insufficient data were collected during the three-month study period to draw any valid conclusions. It is proposed to continue with this study next summer.
A list of references, glossary and further resources are also provided at the end of the report.
Details: Chapter 3 bw19975.pdf (PDF format, 658 KB)
Page last updated: 27 April 2012