Coastal pollution fears dismissed

Sound Telegraph
A crowd of residents met at the Safety Bay foreshore in October to discuss concerns about water quality at the Pond.
Camera IconA crowd of residents met at the Safety Bay foreshore in October to discuss concerns about water quality at the Pond. Credit: Chloe Fraser

The Water Corporation and State Government have made reassurances that ongoing monitoring of water along the Rockingham coastline is being undertaken and falls within acceptable guideline levels, but environmental community groups have renewed calls for more to be done to address concerns.

The Perth Long Term Ocean Outlet Monitoring Program 2018 Summer Water Quality Surveys released in August showed sewerage outfall off Point Peron saw higher-than-normal numbers recorded, but the Water Corporation attributed the levels to the location from which they were retrieved.

Water Corporation operation services general manager Dr Steve Capewell said “higher-than-usual” samples were detected in an area directly above the end of the outlet, 4km offshore, which he said “occurs on occasion”.

“These individual samples are expected to be high given their location, however, the levels quickly drop as the water mixes with the ocean and dilutes,” he said.

Water Minister Dave Kelly said ongoing ocean and beach water quality monitoring was being carried out by the Departments of Health, and of Water and Environmental Regulation in the vicinity of the outfall to ensure highly treated wastewater did not breach maximum nutrient levels.

“The data from the Water Corporation’s most recent ocean outfall sampling indicated that the water quality within the receiving waters was not significantly different from previous years,” he said.

“It also indicated that water quality beyond the 1km exclusion zone was within acceptable guideline levels.”

However, Clean Up Our Coast community group member and Safety Bay resident Tom Mannion said more needed to be done to address water quality issues off the coast, pointing to Point Peron and The Pond as areas about which residents were particularly worried.

The group earlier this month held a public meeting to address concerns surrounding the pond, with dead animals regularly found along the coast.

But City of Rockingham Mayor Barry Sammels said the City’s ongoing water sampling program indicated that all of the City’s beaches were safe for swimming.

Mr Sammels said the City had also committed to undertake additional water sampling for various water quality parameters not routinely tested, such as some nutrients and heavy metals, following resident concerns about water quality in The Pond.

Responding to concerns about the quality of seafood caught in the area, Mr Capewell said the area at the end of the Point Peron outlet was part of the Shellfish Harvesting Exclusion Zone, which was deemed unsuitable for seafood harvesting.

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