Urgent action needed on water quality across Derwent Beaches

Kingborough Council is calling on the State Government to take the lead role in dealing with Derwent River pollution after the publication of the latest Derwent River Estuary water sampling this week.

Kingborough is concerned about the unusually high faecal contamination for beaches across the Derwent, particularly at Blackmans Bay Beach.  The usual preconditions for poor water samples such as high rainfall, were not present during this testing, and Council’s stormwater testing continues to show good results from its stormwater outfall at the centre of Blackmans Bay Beach. Signs have been installed along the beach advising against swimming along the northern end of the beach, in addition to existing warnings at Blackmans Bay south.

The Derwent Estuary Program, Beach Watch, also shows beaches across the Derwent River that are unsafe for swimming or requiring retesting due to abnormally high results.

Mayor of Kingborough, Cr Dean Winter, said Council had been working with TasWater to resolve the stormwater pollution issues at Blackmans Bay Beach and was pleased to have achieved an extremely low stormwater pollution result for its stormwater outflow at central Blackmans Bay Beach earlier this week.

“Getting people back in the water and southern Blackmans Bay Beach has been my number one priority in my first couple of months as Mayor.  While we’ve made excellent progress in resolving the stormwater issues, the readings this week appear to suggest contamination is coming from other sources apart from stormwater.

“The readings at Blackmans Bay Beach are astronomical and totally unacceptable.  Council is now urging people not to swim at any part of Blackmans Bay Beach until further test results are received.

“Kingborough Council tested its stormwater outflow at the same location, on the same day and found an extremely low reading.  This points to external factors and these need to be investigated immediately. This issue requires the full attention of the State Government at the time of year when Hobart residents and visitors want to get out in the water.

“For a state that prides itself on its clean, green image, we must do more to identify the cause of these issues – and it must be done urgently.”

Further test results are expected tomorrow afternoon and Council will publish updates as soon as they are known.