On Saturday 13 November 2021, Clarence City Council held a pop-up information session at the Howrah Community Centre to provide a vital update to the community on council’s intensive investigations into the ‘poor’ water quality in the middle section of the beach.
At the event, community members had the opportunity to talk with council officers, TasWater and Derwent Estuary Program (DEP) representatives about what is being done to improve water quality.
Council ramped up investigations into water quality earlier this year after the DEP annual water quality report downgraded the middle section of Howrah Beach from ‘fair’ to ‘poor’, based on state and national guidelines, triggering a ‘swimming not recommended’ advisory for part of the popular beach.
So far, council’s investigation has identified 28 issues in the area that may be impacting the beach water quality, all of which have either been resolved, approved to be fixed or are under further investigation.
Clarence City Council Mayor Alderman Doug Chipman said he was confident that council was doing everything it could to improve the water quality at Howrah Beach.
“Council is undertaking a thorough investigation into all possible sources of contamination that may be impacting Howrah Beach,” he said.
“This has included water, sediment, stormwater outfall, and ammonia testing in our stormwater networks, as well as groundwater monitoring in Wentworth Park.
“So far, some promising progress has been made with a number of stormwater and sewerage issues already resolved with the help of TasWater.”
TasWater System Performance and Productivity Department Manager Fran Smith said that work needed to be done to improve water quality at the beach.
“We are working closely with council to identify and rectify issues including repairing manholes and relining sewer mains. The process to locate these issues is time intensive but once identified, can be resolved quickly,” Ms Smith said.
TasWater also encourages residents to be mindful of what’s entering the sewerage systems.
“The community can play a meaningful role in reducing blockages and spills by following the 3 Ps advice, only flushing pee, poo and toilet paper down the toilet – and for households to be mindful to not let oil, vegetable matter and other items go down the sinks,” Ms Smith said.
“We are pleased to be working with council and the DEP on these improvements.”
Chief Executive Officer of DEP Ursula Taylor congratulated the council and TasWater for their cooperative approach to managing stormwater.
“A methodical approach to finding the source of contamination is needed and already it is delivering positive results,” she said.
Mayor Chipman said while council was working hard to get to the bottom of the poor water grading, it was important that everyone did their part in improving the overall quality of the Derwent River.
“The health of the Derwent is everyone’s responsibility and we urge all residents and visitors to the area to be mindful of what you are washing down the stormwater drain, picking up after your dog, not feeding ducks, geese and seagulls, and in general doing what you can to take care of our wonderful environment,” he said.
“The community can rest assured that we are doing everything in our control to return the middle of Howrah Beach to a safe water quality rating and restore confidence in one of our city’s central beaches.
The above mentioned 28 issues council has found in the Howrah catchment area refer to:
• 1 damaged sewer to stormwater direct connection
• 6 damaged sewer-house to sewer-main connections
• 10 incidents of damaged stormwater infrastructure
• 5 incidents of damaged sewer infrastructure
• 3 water mains issues
• 3 still currently under investigation
Of the 28 issues,
• 10 are resolved
• 6 have been approved to be fixed by TasWater (sewer)
• 9 have been approved to be fixed by council (stormwater)
• 3 are under further investigation
Howrah stormwater catchment map
See where council's investigation has found issues within the Howrah stormwater catchment area.
Learn more about council's water quality investigation
Learn more about council's investigation into the 'poor' water quality rating at Howrah Beach by reading our 2 page information document.