East Basin Closed

johnboy 25 November 2010 7

The National Capital Authority is letting us know they’ve closed Lake Burley Griffin’s East Basin for swimming due to bacteria:

Water test results received by the NCA indicate that bacteria levels in East Basin are at an unacceptable level.

At current concentrations, it is unsafe to use East Basin for recreational activities that involve whole-body water contact or submersion of the head, such as swimming, diving, waterskiing and windsurfing.


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Braddon Boy Braddon Boy 11:10 am 26 Nov 10

The problem with the lake as a whole is:

1. It’s too big for the amount of water flowing through it (so it becomes stagnate)
2. Most of the stormwater flow into it is untreated. So a lot of pollutants find their way into the lake (suspended solids, phosphors and nitrogen).

The wetlands along Sullivans Creek go some way to help solve problem 2. But these treat a tiny amount of runoff when you consider all of Queanbeyan, Inner South and Inner North, Fyshwick and the Airport flow into LBG. All new developments tent to have their own treatment, even the Kingston foreshore.

These problems are still being learnt about, and the science is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. When the lake was built, much of it was unknown and so they didn’t expect to run into these problems.

In short, more wetlands dotted around will help the problem. Maybe at Yarralumla Bay Oval, Kings Park, Telopea Park, and wherever else there is a major drain/open channel entering the lake. Fyshwick, along with the Canturf farm would be a major problem.

Also, getting Queanbeyan to treat their runoff would also do wonders.

Instead of wetlands, there could be other measures taken dotted throughout the catchments, such as tree pits, bio-retention basins etc. but these cost a lot more money, and a lot more disruption, to have the same effect. Although they take less room.

Ironically, however, the lake its self acts as water treatment device, protecting the lower Molonglo River and ultimately the Murrumbidgee River. So, do we want to protect the lake, spend heaps of money (tens, maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars) and be able to swim in the lake at any time? Or use the lake as protection for the rivers downstream and forgo dunking out head in every now and then?

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 9:28 am 26 Nov 10

East basin – so run off of stormwater and nutrients from Queanbeyan, Fyshwick, South Canberra suburbs and of course the turf farm would be a major contributor.

However it has probably come from the whole lake catchment – the winds have been prevailing from the west so would have pushed a lot of the blue green algae (which isn’t actually algae) to the east.

ConanOfCooma ConanOfCooma 7:30 am 26 Nov 10

You only need to look at the water to guage the quality of it…

I can’t believe people do anything that involves contact with that sludge pool.

Mind you, it’s worse down Tuggeranong way, with the mulit-layered slime aqua-carpet actually condensing and eating birds.

I even saw a mother with her kids playing in it the other day. Oh well, it is southside (but they may have been from Queanbeyan).

Deref Deref 7:13 am 26 Nov 10

Gungahlin Al said :

A week in hospital back in February with the worst pain imaginable from a brain infection, kidney failure, and much more, after copping a dose of cyanobacteria poisoning from LBG water during a regatta.

And I was not immersed either. But my water bottle was.

My advice would therefore be, if NCA are suggesting to stay out, then staying out would be a mighty good idea…

Yow!! Thanks for a description of the effects, Al – very very nasty!

I wonder where this contamination’s coming from.

wildturkeycanoe wildturkeycanoe 10:54 pm 25 Nov 10

Third World Conditions in the capital. What is the point of having a lake if it is useless for anything other than looking at. Might as well let it just flow as nature intended and reclaim some land for the LDA to develop!

Jethro Jethro 6:17 pm 25 Nov 10

Since when is waterskiing permitted in LBG?

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 5:32 pm 25 Nov 10

A week in hospital back in February with the worst pain imaginable from a brain infection, kidney failure, and much more, after copping a dose of cyanobacteria poisoning from LBG water during a regatta.

And I was not immersed either. But my water bottle was.

My advice would therefore be, if NCA are suggesting to stay out, then staying out would be a mighty good idea…

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