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Sydney's Dirtiest Waterways


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Sydney's dirtiest waterways

LAKE Illawarra is Sydney's dirtiest swimming spot, according to tests carried out by the NSW Government, which found the popular waterway has high levels of bacteria.

In the tests last summer the lake, which is fed by five storm water channels, failed 61 per cent of tests for the bacteria enterococci.

The Department of Environment and Climate Change's annual State of the Beaches report tested 131 beach and harbour watering holes in Sydney, the Illawarra and Hunter regions during summer 2006/07.

The report reveals 103 of the swimming spots returned perfect results, meeting the Government's guidelines for acceptable levels of faecal coliform and enterococci bacteria every time they were tested.

But of the 96 beaches and harbour spots tested across Sydney, only 71 complied every time.

Several popular swimming spots in Sydney's north and south tested positive to levels of enterococci bacteria - which can cause meningitis and urinary tract infections.

Manly's popular Shelly Beach passed only 79 per cent of its tests for enterococci and was the only spot tested that passed less than 90 per cent of tests for faecal coliform, cleared just 86 per cent of the time.

Nearby Narrabeen Lagoon passed just 66 per cent of tests for enterococci while Malabar, in Sydney's eastern suburbs, failed 30 per cent of tests for the same bacteria.

Assistant Environment Minister Verity Firth vowed to clean up the failed beaches, but said the bacteria found were well below levels considered dangerous to humans.

"They are still way cleaner than anything that could be considered dangerous to human health,'' she said. "But we will not rest on our laurels - we know there is more to be done. We have committed $5.75 million, in partnership with local councils, to clean up Lake Illawarra. And we will be working closely, with local councils and local residents in those other areas as well.''

The news was brighter for swimmers who will flock to popular summer tourist haunts such as Bondi, Tamarama, Cronulla and Dee Why over summer - all complied every time they were tested.

The beaches surrounding Newcastle have also been declared some of the cleanest in NSW, with 16 beaches in the Hunter region passing 100 per cent of tests.

In the Illawarra region, 17 of the 18 beaches tested complied with the State Government's standards 100 per cent of the time.

Ms Firth praised the study, labelling most Sydney swimming spots the cleanest they've ever been.

"We have invested more than $82 million on upgrading our storm water program across the state.

"This has enabled our beaches and harbour to be probably the cleanest they have ever been."

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Interesting Pete. :biggrin2:

No doubt that the offshore effluent outlets have made a difference to the water quality on our beaches. However I wonder what they are doing to the offshore reefs. :wacko:

I also wonder if the stormwater systems have been truly tested with the distinct lack of rainfall in recent times.

It's no suprise that Narrabeen lagoon didn't comply. As you would well know there is a lot of fertiliser & chemical runoff from surrounding parks & the golf course up from there.

So how have the Flathead tasted mate? :tease:



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Mate..I haven't scored a flattie since last autumn..mainly due to lack

of trying..ie:fishing time.

You are right about the runoff into Narra Lake which in turn feeds the weed

and chokes it up.

It's becoming very weedy now.

The opening of the lake sure made a difference though this year.



Edited by MallacootaPete
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