Water Quality in the Shire
The Baulkham Hills LGA has a population of 160,000 (2007) and is currently experiencing a growth rate of approximately 2.3%, a rate, almost four times that of Sydney (0.6%). As the Shire experiences such rapid population growth, many of our invaluable aquatic ecosystems are under stress from the impacts of urban development including land clearing, loss of biodiversity and increased pollutant loads. In spite of this, the declining quality of our local waterways is often overlooked.
What Council Does
Due to the deteriorating condition of the Shire’s waterways Council’s Health and Environmental Protection Team routinely monitors the water quality of major creek systems in the area. Furthermore Officers of Council screen stormwater drains, gross pollutant traps and detention basins of concern in the area. Data obtained is used to assess the health of the local waterway and their suitability for different uses. The information is also used to identify trends and prominent sources of water pollution within the Shire. Moreover, in response to the need to tackle water quality issues in the Shire, Council’s Waterways Team is designing and implementing projects to improve the current conditions. For more information on these projects please contact Council's Waterways Team on 9843 0555.
- Excelsior Creek
- Hunts Creek
- Darling Mills Creek
- Quarry Creek
- Toongabbie Creek
- Elizabeth Macarthur Creek
- Cattai Creek
- Strangers Creek
- Caddies Creek and;
- Drainage basin off Rowallan Avenue, Castle Hill.
To view the location and information about these testing sites please refer to the following links:
North Run (Beaumont Hills, Castle Hill, Kellyville, Rouse Hill) (18.01kB)
South Run (Baulkham Hills, North Rocks, Northmead, Bella Vista, Carlingford) (58.10kB)
At each site Council Officers test the water for the following parameters: Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature, pH and Conductivity. Three water samples are collected at each site and are sent to a National Association of Testing Authorities ( NATA ) accredited laboratory for analysis of Faecal Coli forms, E.coli, Total Nitrogen, Total Phosphorous, Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS). In addition, Caddies Creek, being situated downstream of a former landfill site, is tested for heavy metals. All results are compared to the Australian New Zealand Environment Conservation Council’s (ANZECC) guidelines for Recreational Water Quality 2000.
Stormwater Drains and Water Pollution Fact Sheet (99.50kB)
To view The Hills Shire Council Water Quality Testing Program results 2006-2013, click on the following link:
Water Quality Monitoring Program Results (732.90kB)
Stormwater Management Service Charges and Frequently Asked Questions
Stormwater Management Service Charge & FAQs - 1,028 KB
What You Can Do - To help improve water quality waterways?
- Use phosphorus free detergents in the kitchen and laundry and where possible use natural based cleaners such as vinegar, lemon juice and bicarbonate soda.
- Don't allow paint, chemicals or oil to enter ANY drain. Dispose of unwanted chemicals, paints and oils responsibly through the Household Chemical Cleanout Program and wash paint brushes over a sand filter on the lawn, rather than over drains or on a path. Visit: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pesticides/chemhousehold.htm for further information.
- Do not overfill your household waste bins, as windy days may permit waste materials to spill onto roadways and into street gutters.
- Install water saving devices, such as aerators on household taps, dual flush toilets and restricted flow shower heads. This is particularly important to residents within the rural areas of the shire whom depend on septic systems to dispose of their waste water. This reduces the waste water output, hence reducing the risk of high nutrient run-off entering local water systems
- Get to know your waste water treatment system, including grey and black water treatment systems. Knowing how to identify and respond to a potential leak can reduce the risk of contaminated run-off.
In the Garden
- Use a broom to sweep up leaves and grass clippings from your driveway, the kerbside gutter in front of your house and other hard surfaced areas.
- Cover piles of soil/sand and other loose construction/landscaping materials as wind and rain will sweep pollutants into the storm water drain.
- Prevent soil and mulch from being washed onto the road by ensuring all gardens are located away from the stormwater drain. Also when disturbing soil, or using mulch around trees on your property ensure that adequate sediment and erosion control devices are in place to prevent soil, fertilisers and mulch from entering the stormwater system.
- Wash your car on the lawn or at the car wash. Also keep your car serviced regularly to prevent oil dripping onto the road.
- Use less fertiliser and be careful not to over water your garden as this can lead to excess nutrient levels in our local waterways, particularly during periods of rain. Try planting local or native species when possible as they require less fertiliser and water.
- Minimize run-off of nutrient rich wastewater from recycled systems, such as those in the Rouse Hill area, by ensuring all wastewater is contained on-site.
Out and About
- Place cigarette butts in a garbage bin or portable butt bin. Each cigarette butt contains over 4,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic, especially to aquatic wildlife and a single cigarette butt can take up to 15 years to break down. Portable butt bins, made from recycled film canisters are available from Council or you can easily make your own.
- Put your litter in a public rubbish bin or take it home with you to put in the bin.
- If you see someone throwing litter from a car or other vehicle report them to EPA's 24 hour toll free Litter Report Line on 1800 35 25 55. Be sure to note down the car’s registration details as well as the time and the location of the incident.
- Clean up after your dog. Visit designated dog parks that provide bags and bins especially for dog faeces. Take compostable bags made especially for picking up dog droppings with you on every outing with your pooch. These are available from pet supply stores. If you can’t find these use freezer bags or newspaper to pick up your pet’s droppings in public.
- Don’t feed bread to ducks and other birds. Bread can not only swell in their stomach's and cause diseases such as potentially fatal Avian Botulism but bread is also high in Phosphorous which can cause algal blooms in our waterways. Buy special duck food or refrain from feeding wild birds.
Water Pollution Complaints
Under Section 120
of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act, 1997
a person who pollutes any waters is guilty of an offence and is liable for prosecution.
Polluting waters may constitute a person permitting a large quantity of a foreign substance, whether a liquid or solid material, to enter a stormwater drain. It may also include an accidental spill of a liquid or solid material on a premises where it may be likely to reach a stormwater pit or the street gutter.
Once a substance other than rain enters the stormwater drainage system, this causes water pollution and in turn harms our local waterways.
You may notice a foreign coloured substance, oily scum/slick entering the creek, or fauna showing signs of distress which can indicate water pollution is occurring or has recently occurred.
Please report all water pollution incidents, such as petrol, chemical, oil and paint spills, whether deliberate or not, to Council's Environmental Health and Sustainability Team during business hours on 9843 0555.
We rely on your help to protect our waterways.
To help protect the Shire’s creeks and rivers it is vital that their naturally vegetated banks are maintained. It is critical that these areas, called Riparian Zones, are allowed to remain well vegetated as this helps to stabilise their edges and prevent erosion as high sediment loads degrade the quality of our local waterways. Riparian Zones also act as natural filters for stormwater entering the creek or river system. This is why it is important not to build too close to our waterways.
To help maintain the Riparian Zones bordering the Shire’s Waterways and to improve water quality in the area, groups of Bushcare volunteers meet regularly to partake in regenerative and restorative works along the banks of some of the Shire’s many creek lines. To find out more or to join a Bushcare Group click here.
Back to top