11 November 2007

Lake Burley Sewer

| Cameron
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Apparently the Queanbeyan folk have decided to show Canberra what they really think of us – by leaking their sewerage into the Molonglo River – and thus into Lake Burley Griffin.

The NCA says there are unacceptable levels of “faecal coliform bacteria” in the lake, apparently the result of said leak, and all use of the lake has ceased (and the Captain Cook jet has been shutdown).

NEWS.com.au has the story here

ED – Thanks also to Ruby Wednesday for their take on the story:

“LBG is closed to swimming, boating and other recreational activities after a sewer leak in Queanbeyan. I feel sorry for all those I saw on the lake yesterday afternoon rowing amidst the faecal coliform bacteria. The jet will also be out of action presumably to spare road users and pedestrians on the bridge from being showered with contaminated water.”

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Did I really hear the NSW official (Dept. of Something & Climate Change) interviewed on 666 this morning say Queanbeyan “dog shit” being washed into the river during heavy downpours? Struggle Town’s revenge!

Gungahlin Al11:17 am 13 Nov 07

666 this morning – discussion between Ross Solly and Jon Stanhope.
And Canberra Times this morning.

Public health!

Do you have a cite on the 1.5ML?
at the risk of stating the blatantly obvious, thats quite a lot and I’d imagine of fair risk to downstream pubic health.

Gungahlin Al9:29 am 13 Nov 07

So today’s news says it was more like 1.5 million litres. That’s 1,500 cubic metres Mayor Pangallo – not 1.5! But what’s a few zeros between friends?

Of more importance is the incredible fact that the Queanbeyan Council covered it up, rather than letting ACT residents know straight away.

How do you connect the result of a sewage spill into LBG and a malfunction in a recycling plant? The dots don’t join up for me.

Jonathon Reynolds11:36 pm 12 Nov 07

It may be amusing and we joke now about unacceptable levels of “faecal coliform bacteria” in a recreational lake… but stop and think what the Stanhope Government wants to do in terms of recycling effluent water back to a potable water sources.

The ABC is reporting that is will be TEN (10) days until there is an improvement in water quality levels (does this mean that the water is actually 100% safe, or just “safer”) Even then this is not potable water, it is a recreational lake)

Imagine the widespread panic (and run on bottled water in the supermarkets) when you can’t drink tap water for over 10 days because the water recycling system had a malfunction and you literally end up with $#!+ in your drinking water!

I had to jump in lake tuggeranong to retrive a skateboard once – not cool… I could only imagine how bad LBG is.. I can’t believe ppl swim in there

Anyone know if the usual river “take the kids for a dip in the rapids” spots are back to being signed as “safe”\”take care”, rather than the months of “Unsafe” we’ve been seeing?

Brilliant. Thanks for clearing that up.

(Though I’d say that after having sewage flow through for a while, sewerage would also smell 😉

The sewers are the network of pipes that waste flows through.
These pipes are sewerage.
Sewage is the waste that flows through the sewerage.

But, thanks to popular ignorance of basic language, most people get it wrong and write to newspapers\tell the complaints line about the smell of raw sewerage in their area.
Pipes don’t smell.

Absent Diane10:53 am 12 Nov 07

has been happening for years. Everytime it overflows.

My understanding was that sewage and sewerage are one and the same – simply alternate spellings. No?

*only* 1.5 eh? Well is 1.5 capable of generating the e.coli counts the NCA is claiming? Or are those other sources you mentioned likely contributors?

Gungahlin Al10:10 am 12 Nov 07

Ant: downstream leaching from cemetries can be a problem, even without the bodies themselves floating off!

Pangallo was on 666 this morning claiming that *only* 1.5 cubic metres of raw sewage (note folks that’s sewage not sewerage) that ended up in the river and that was two weeks ago.

But then the NCA is claiming E.coli counts of some 10,000ppm as opposed to a normal 150-odd.

So who’s spin do we believe?

It’s disappointing that in an era of SCADA monitoring systems and the like that such a fault could go undetected, and that the end result is pumping to the river rather than some sort of holding pondage. Qbyn Council need to do some work on theuir failsafes methinks.

And where’s Professor Collingnon on the issue?

But then maybe the closing of the lake is a good thing in that it helps focus everyone’s attention of the cumulative contributors to the lake’s health – those mentioned above, plus Fyshwick and CBD run-off, and of course septic tank leaching from upstream.

I remember there wsa a flood (when we used to have those) and it flooded the Qbn cemetery and liberated some dead bodies which went floating off in the direction of Canberra. Everyone was horrified!

hairy nosed wombat10:34 pm 11 Nov 07

So the Queanbeyan brown trout are migrating again?

Like this does not happen every so often.

OpenYourMind24:52 pm 11 Nov 07

I spent five years doing triathlons and have swum many races in the lake. The water doesn’t quite match the purity of Kona, but I’ve never had any problems with it.

I’ve never considered swimming in any of the lakes. It’s sheer madness to even contemplate doing so. Even a few drops of the water on ones skin can prove fatal, or cause serious mental abnormalities. And that’s with or without this latest pollution. It amazes me that nobody has caught a 3-eyed red-fin in all this time :S

There was an amusingly-written article in the CT a few weeks back about how the lake was high in “faeces”. The writer didn’t use the usual terms faecal contamination or faecal matter, no she just said “faeces” right through, which made the article very funny reading.

Back in the big drought of 82, we put kayaks in the Molonglo at Oaks Estate, and paddled down. the water was so low we had to carry the kayaks over many parts of the river, but also things were revealed. Quite a few stinking sewerage pipes, one evidently from harman? and the other obviously from the abbatoir. Duntroon also had a contribution.

I’ve never swum in Lake BG since that jaunt.

Gungahlin Al8:06 am 11 Nov 07

I see one of the outdoor suppliers is offering free kayak trials at Yarralumla today!
Don’t fall in…

As for shutting down the fountain, if the wind was the right way, wouldn’t it be a good way to fertilise Commonwealth Park?

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