$700,000 push to clean up stormwater

Rob Dixon (L) and Beth Salt (R) from Georges Riverkeeper investigate the stormwater pollution captured by a Gross Pollutant Trap
Rob Dixon (L) and Beth Salt (R) from Georges Riverkeeper investigate the stormwater pollution captured by a Gross Pollutant Trap

A new anti-litter project is in the works to prevent rain runoff from washing litter pollution into the Georges River, thanks Georges Riverkeeper and a $700,000 Environment Restoration Fund Program Grant from the Australian Government.

Georges Riverkeeper’s ‘Improving the Health of the Georges River: Zero Litter in Georges River’ project is tackling the stormwater pollution problem with a four-phase approach and support from local councils.

Sutherland Shire Council is leading the research component of the project by looking at the performance of existing Gross Pollutant Traps (GPTs), the feasibility of installing new GPTs, and developing a best-practice process for Councils to use when considering stormwater management.

Liverpool City Council is conducting a GPT audit of over 75 devices to gain more information about the GPTs so they can be operated and maintained more appropriately, and function more effectively.

In addition, following earlier GPT audits, Campbelltown City Council, City of Canterbury Bankstown, Fairfield City Council and Georges River Council are undertaking the following priority projects to upgrade crucial stormwater management infrastructure and improve the performance, or replace, of problem GPTs at critical sites:

  • Kookaburra Park, Canley Vale: Fairfield City Council is upgrading a trashrack GPT and undertaking landscaping and planting of native species to enhance the area around the trashrack. A concrete driveway will also be constructed for access to clean and maintain the trashrack. This project will be completed by the end of the financial year.
  • Depot Road Creek, Mortdale: Georges River Council has constructed a ski-jump GPT with additional erosion works to ensure the integrity of the creek.
  • Kooringa Reserve, Raby: Campbelltown City Council is installing of a trashrack GPT to operate at low flow, which should be completed by 31 March 2022. Campbelltown City Council is also considering an additional project under this grant, but it’s still in the design and approval phase.
  • Virginius Reserve, Padstow: GPT rectifications by City of Canterbury Bankstown include the decommissioning of two under-sized GPTs that are in unsuitable locations and the installation of a more appropriate proprietary device upstream. The project is due to be completed by 30 June 2022.

Georges Riverkeeper is also bringing this project to several schools across the Georges River catchment to teach students about litter, GPTs and stormwater. Students will conduct stormwater drain investigations, develop a campaign about the problem and create drain art to be installed in the community.

Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Australian Government has invested $100 million, over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23, to help ensure our environment is protected for future generations through the Environment Restoration Fund program.

“Cleaning up pollution is vital to improving the health of our rivers,” Minister Ley said.

Georges Riverkeeper Program Manager Beth Salt said, “It’s estimated that 95% of the pollution in the Georges River is a result of stormwater runoff.”

Stormwater pollution include oils, detergents and tyre residue that runs off roads, fertilisers, pesticides and lawn clippings that run off gardens, sediment or soil from construction sites, pet waste, chemicals, paints and oils that are carelessly disposed and end up in outdoor drains, as well as gross pollutants from litter.

Last financial year, Georges Riverkeeper prevented over 52 tonnes of rubbish from entering the river.

This project received grant funding from the Australian Government.

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