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Rain! The dirty water flows!

By johnboy 3 June 2009 36

With the first decent rain in ages I was down to the drains to take in the majesty of flowing stormwater.

The Bureau reports the weather will improve towards the end of the week before getting wet again late in the long weekend.

(Slideshow below)

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36 Responses to
Rain! The dirty water flows!
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Fisho 7:42 pm 04 Jun 09

Clown Killer said :

A ‘catchment group’ for Sullies is something I can only see as well meaning but misguided. It cannot make any meaningful or significant impact due to the design. Unless tennis balls and Macca’s wrappers are to be considered a visual amenity. Right Idea. Wrong place.

I will have to disagree with you on this one Fisho. The Sullivans Creek Catchment Group has been working on improving economic, social and environmental outcomes for the catchment for well over a decade. The retro-fitted wetland at O’Conner provides a tangible demonstration of how sustainable water management can deliver measurably improved water quality, improved aquatic and terrestrial habitat and increased amenity and property values.

Work on the next of some thirteen such wetlands will commence shortly at Banksia Street. Members of the group have also been instrumental in developing the integrated urban waterways project, and working with rural lessees in the catchment on revegetation and stream bank management.

I agree with the construction of wetlands as a water quality measure, my beef with the Sullies ones are they are too small, and their effects are only relevant to a tiny area. The lower Sullies Creek area has massive siltation problems due to the restricted flow it is getting – whether this is caused just by the lack of rain and/or the new flow barriers. It hasn’t made any measurable difference to LBG, the Molonglo or the Murrumbidgee – that is what class as ‘significant’.

Useful as a model, just too small, and in the wrong place IMO. Two major wetland areas between Scrivener and Coppins would be my idea of useful. I hope your group gets the opportunity to implement the type of things you have done in Sullies on a far larger scale.

Regular heavy rain would sorta help matters as well.

ant 3:10 pm 04 Jun 09

There’s definitely some dodgy plumbing down below the Hyatt’s croquet lawn. That whole low bit in teh street where the UK consulate, teh Chinese embassy, and the drain for the Hyatt/Croquet facility meet is very green, and it pongs like a burst septic. I noticed grey water seeping up out of the ground from the Hyatt a month or so ago, and after the rain it’s a lot worse!

chewy14 3:06 pm 04 Jun 09

Clown Killer said :

Oh trust me, there’s a fair whack of sewer in that mix.

A small amount definitely but i wouldn’t say it was a lot. The water in Sullivan’s creek is tested. If there was a large amount of sewage flowing into it the EPA would know about it.
The catchment is dirty enough anyway, i just don’t necessarily think its sewage.

Clown Killer 2:52 pm 04 Jun 09

Oh trust me, there’s a fair whack of sewer in that mix.

chewy14 2:35 pm 04 Jun 09

Clown Killer said :

Sullivan’s Creek still smells like poo though

Quite true. Mainly becuase there’s a fair bit of poo in it. When it’s dry, and we haven’t had any rain for say five or six weeks – where do people think that the trickle of water running down the drain comes from?

Most of those inner north suburbs are pushing 70 years of age now. Common trenches for sewer and stormwater combined with old school terracotta pipes and you’d expect a fair bit of “cross-over” between the two systems.

More likely to be leaking water pipes than sewer.
Sullivans creek runs through an urban catchment so it is expected to be filthy.

Clown Killer 2:32 pm 04 Jun 09

Sullivan’s Creek still smells like poo though

Quite true. Mainly becuase there’s a fair bit of poo in it. When it’s dry, and we haven’t had any rain for say five or six weeks – where do people think that the trickle of water running down the drain comes from?

Most of those inner north suburbs are pushing 70 years of age now. Common trenches for sewer and stormwater combined with old school terracotta pipes and you’d expect a fair bit of “cross-over” between the two systems.

el 2:05 pm 04 Jun 09

Sullivan’s Creek still smells like poo though.

Grrrr 12:21 pm 04 Jun 09

rosebud said :

All that water rushing away from where it is needed. Why don’t they tear up those concrete river banks and create some wet land areas to store the water and give the birdies a home?

Money. Everyone else can argue the technicalities and politics of much better replacements, but the drains are already there – a hangover from the time when Total Concrete Management ruled Civil Engineering – and they’re working.

I think the real question is: How am I meant to mow all this green grass that’s sprung up on my lawn when it’s constantly soaking wet?

peterh 10:53 am 04 Jun 09

Thumper said :

Beautiful, just beautiful.

And the early morning fog is wonderous.

good word, thumper. I am wonderous as to how some people expect us to see them in the fog when they haven’t got their lights on…

Clown Killer 10:38 am 04 Jun 09

A ‘catchment group’ for Sullies is something I can only see as well meaning but misguided. It cannot make any meaningful or significant impact due to the design. Unless tennis balls and Macca’s wrappers are to be considered a visual amenity. Right Idea. Wrong place.

I will have to disagree with you on this one Fisho. The Sullivans Creek Catchment Group has been working on improving economic, social and environmental outcomes for the catchment for well over a decade. The retro-fitted wetland at O’Conner provides a tangible demonstration of how sustainable water management can deliver measurably improved water quality, improved aquatic and terrestrial habitat and increased amenity and property values.

Work on the next of some thirteen such wetlands will commence shortly at Banksia Street. Members of the group have also been instrumental in developing the integrated urban waterways project, and working with rural lessees in the catchment on revegetation and stream bank management.

Peekz 8:52 am 04 Jun 09

Jonny534 said :

epic thread is epic

Did I miss something? When did 20 posts become epic?

Thumper 8:11 am 04 Jun 09

Beautiful, just beautiful.

And the early morning fog is wonderous.

Pesty 7:35 am 04 Jun 09

Feathergirl said :

All this rain is lovely. All the trees seem to be every shade and tint of green and the fog on the hills looks magic. Don’t you just love the smell of rain too?

Also fun is driving through those HUGE puddles and fanning up the water WHOOOOOOOSHHHHH!

Oh wonderful! nothing like a spot of the old aquaplaning to get the adrenaline pumping!

bigred 10:43 pm 03 Jun 09

It got even worse after state of origin finished. Nutters everywhere and no acting super Neit out and about to tell us he is disappointed.

ant 10:34 pm 03 Jun 09

Feathergirl said :

All this rain is lovely. All the trees seem to be every shade and tint of green and the fog on the hills looks magic. Don’t you just love the smell of rain too?

The gum trees in the grass behind OPH smelled amazing today, wonderful smell. Peppermint, eucalyptus, and other smells you’d make a fortune from if you could bottle them. Got a bit wet but boy that’s 100% better than getting dusty. And you’re right, the colours just blast out in the rain and mist.

Canberra drivers became over-challenged though. At home-time, 7-odd of them had managed to smack each others’s bums on Kings Ave (heading up towards Russell Roundabout). And there were two separate events of cars mounting the concrete thing on the Dairy Flat Road bridge, heading towards Moreshed lights in the evening. As we headed out to Kingston a truck was picking two cars off the concrete barrier. When we returned a while later, the cops were running about and there was small 121-ish thing straddling the concrete!

Fisho 10:09 pm 03 Jun 09

Clown Killer said :

The retro-fitted wetland behind O’Connor shops is an example of how that form of water retention might work. Thanks to the work of TAMS and the Sullivans Creek Catchment Group there’s another one of those wetlands going to be retro-fitted on Banksia Street. that said I doubt that there’s an engineered solution that would avoid the need for the Sullivans Creek to perform a storm-water function so I guess the concrete is here to stay.

I watched Sullies lose a foot in depth due to siltation in less than a year, so not too sure that another flow reducer in that area would be such a good thing.
Our rivers need a good flushing from time to time, esp in spring to encourage spawning. Sadly the only things doing any significant spawning in Sullies or Jerra wetlands are carp. A ‘catchment group’ for Sullies is something I can only see as well meaning but misguided. It cannot make any meaningful or significant impact due to the design. Unless tennis balls and Macca’s wrappers are to be considered a visual amenity. Right Idea. Wrong place.

That aside, more wetlands sited correctly in general can only improve the health of our waterways.

I recently took a trip to the Tumut canal (it’s not a river any more) which has been rockwalled along much of its length to sustain irrigation flows. I did not encounter a water bird, insect or weed bed. I was totally disgusted at the destruction. A few back eddies out of the main flow would allow irrigation flows, and provide habitat for the various insects, birds, amphibians, plants and fish the rivers need to survive. Also have photos two weeks apart of the top (‘digbee) end of the ‘juck shallowing from a lake to a pond.

Remember that our urban lakes are designed primarily for visual appeal, and secondly for reducing pollutants from reaching the ‘bidgee. A minimum depth in all places is also a required designh element to prevent mosquitos etc.

I personally think the best thing that could be done is to back up the Molonglo near Coppins, slightly flooding to near the high flow mark thus creating a vast wetland area along the corridor. It would still be a carpitat area but natives would have a better go, and the amphibians down there would be better off as well. It would also handle the high flow events due to the valley like structure.

/Me applauds Environment ACT and their NSW counterparts for the work they have been doing recently (in places most will never see) on blackberry control as well.

I would like to see the health of the rivers given a higher priority environment wise in general.

And the sound of rain on the roof is one of life’s free pleasures.

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