Volunteers want filfthy creeks cleaned

Calling for action: Streamwatch volunteers (from left) Melina Amerasinghe, Graham Lalchere, Anne Wagstaff and Sonia Baxant. Picture: Chris Lane
Calling for action: Streamwatch volunteers (from left) Melina Amerasinghe, Graham Lalchere, Anne Wagstaff and Sonia Baxant. Picture: Chris Lane

STREAMWATCH volunteers are urging Hurstville Council to get more serious about cleaning up small creeks and streams in the area.

The Leader met a group of volunteers at Dairy Creek in Mortdale Heights last week as they collected and tested samples in the ominously black stretch of water.

Melina Amerasinghe said residents wanted the council to get serious about improving its waterways, which flow into the Georges River.

‘‘The condition of [Dairy] Creek is pretty poor — the stream has consistently had high levels of nutrient and electrical conductivity associated with both chemical and organic contamination,’’ Ms Amerasinghe said.

She said in addition to invisible pollutants in the water, the stream was often clogged with rubbish. ‘‘Small creeks such as Dairy Creek are important because the creek runs into the Georges River and Botany Bay, degrading several ecosystems [and] making it uninhabitable for the life that relies on the river,’’ she said.

Georges River Environmental Alliance spokeswoman Sharyn Cullis said small polluted streams were a problem along the Georges River. She said many streams contained a ‘‘nasty cocktail’’ of grease, sediment, fertilisers, nutrients, chemicals and litter that washed off streets, into drains and the river.

1‘‘This urban runoff is recognised as a major threat to water quality in the river,’’ Ms Cullis said.

A Hurstville Council spokeswoman said the council was ‘‘investigating options for Dairy Creek’’. 

She said more than $650,000 was spent building the Lime Kiln Bay and Edith Bay wetlands and the council maintained 13 gross pollutant traps designed to capture litter. 

But Streamwatch volunteer and former Hurstville councillor Anne Wagstaff said the council had dropped the ball on stormwater maintenance and was seriously underspending.

‘‘It was disappointing to note Hurstville Council has continued the trend since 2005 of underspending on the required maintenance of stormwater drainage works, such as gross pollutant traps, by a massive $2.65 million in 2011-12,’’ she said. 

‘‘This brings the total underspending in the last seven years to nearly $5 million.’’

Streamwatch is calling on the council to empty the gross pollutant traps and clean out settling ponds more regularly and launch an education campaign to educate residents to stop fertiliser, detergent, dog poo and other rubbish entering drains.

Does the council need to get serious about improving the health of its waterways?

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