Terrigal water audit due for release

The results of the Terrigal water quality audit are finally available

The long-awaited Terrigal water quality audit is finally complete, with the comprehensive report going online on October 2.

Results of the year-long audit which set out to identify the cause of poor water quality at Terrigal breach, The Haven and nearby lagoons will be live on the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment website from 9am.

The audit began 12 months ago, following a pledge in February, 2019, of $500,000 from the State Government to address water quality issues after repeated complaints from residents about sewage leaking onto the beach.

The results are set to inform a suite of remediation works to improve swimmer safety.

The audit and analysis of pollution sources was conducted by the NSW Government in partnership with Central Coast Council and scientists from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said the results would guide Council’s future work in resolving water quality problems.

“Terrigal Beach is the jewel in the crown of Central Coast beaches,” Crouch said.

“Local residents and its many visitors deserve to be able to enjoy the beach environment and swim in clean, safe water.

“The completion of this audit is a significant step forward in developing an effective, evidence-based water quality improvement program.”

UTS scientists used state-of-the-art DNA markers to show that microbial pollution at Terrigal Beach and the surrounding area is the result of human faecal matter which contaminates stormwater, particularly after rain.

The audit, which commenced in 2019, involved sampling at 11 sites from the Terrigal Lagoon mouth to The Haven, as well as at Forresters Beach, North Avoca and a number of stormwater drain exits.

“The key outcome of this audit is that Council can now prioritise and target remediation works in a way they never have before,” Crouch said.

“It will also allow efficient and cost-effective water quality improvements to be undertaken.

“This is one of the most comprehensive recreational water quality investigations ever undertaken in NSW and I want to thank the Council staff for their genuine and constructive partnership.

“I have been strongly encouraging Council since February 2019 to apply for NSW Government funding through the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program, and today I am renewing my calls for Council to maximize this funding opportunity.”

The final summary and technical reports associated with the water quality audit will be available at: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/beaches/reporting-beachwater-quality/water-quality-investigations/terrigal-beach-water-quality-audit on October 5.

For more information about the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program, go to www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/water/coasts/coastal-and-estuary-grants

Terry Collins