Weekly recreational water quality sampling of Howrah and Bellerive Beach commenced in December and will continue through until the end of April. Results are being closely monitored however council will need to wait until the sampling season finishes to collate and consider the results to determine any general improvement in water quality for Howrah Beach, given the investigative works that have been undertaken in the Howrah catchment as part of council’s investigations.
Council completed a sediment sampling program on 29th Sep 2021. The results were passed on to the Derwent Estuary Program and Dr Christine Coughanowr for analysis and recommendations. The results did not allow any conclusions to be drawn. With elevated sediment faecal contamination directly out from the Salacia outfall, the recommendation was that the Salacia catchment be a primary focus, which it has been.
A new sampling program has been developed and is planned to take place in early March 2022. Studies conducted around the world and our own statistical analysis of water quality measurements and weather data suggests that enterococci, the bacteria used to measure water quality at Howrah Beach, may be stored in sediments and then released during high tides/large swell. A thorough sampling program of the beach sands is required for confirmation.
Weekly sampling of the stormwater outfalls is ongoing with noticeable improvement in the quality of the water reaching the beach. This is conducted alongside the Rec Water Sampling on each Tuesday morning. A number of troublesome issues have now been narrowed down to sections of sewer and stormwater main, which will ultimately further improve the stormwater outfall quality.
As of 21st Feb 2022, 50 total issues with a link to water quality have been found since the stormwater investigation began in August 2021 and the breakdown is as follows:
- 1x sewer to stormwater direct connection issue.
- 10x damaged sewer house to sewer main connection issues.
- 10x damaged stormwater infrastructure issues.
- 18x damaged sewer infrastructure issues.
- 4x sewer blockages.
- 7x currently under investigation by council.
Of the above:
- Eighteen have been resolved by TasWater.
- Six have been resolved by council.
- Eight are in the process or have been resolved by homeowners.
- Three have been organised to be fixed by TasWater (sewer).
- Four are being investigated by TasWater to pinpoint an exact source.
- Four have been approved to be fixed by council (stormwater).
- Seven are currently under investigation by council.