News

WATCH: Council takes 3 years to warn people faeces in water

WATER contaminated with human waste is still running down Howard streets and in to Maria Creek, three years after concerns were first raised.

But although the Fraser Coast Regional Council has been aware of the problem since test results were returned in September last year, it has only just moved to put signs up warning residents of the hazard.

Concerns were first raised about the safety of the water in 2013 - three years ago - when former Member for Maryborough Anne Maddern said Howard residents had reported finding raw faeces in gutters.

Tests were conducted over a year from September 2014 at the creek to determine whether it was affected by wastewater run-off.

Howard resident Robert Catford wants to know why it took so long to release a report which confirmed water in the creek could pose a public health risk, and why the signs are still not in place.

Mr Catford also raised concerns about the flow of Maria Creek affecting other waterways.

"Maria Creek runs through into the Burrum (River) and it pollutes the Burrum," he said.

"When do you let the people of Howard know that it's polluted and it's unsafe to be near it?"

The council's regulatory services executive manager David Murray said six signs would be installed within four weeks warning people not to swim in the creek due to the "fluctuating water quality".

The results showed high average levels of Enterococci bacteria and ammonia at some sites of the creek.

Enterococci is a human bacteria which can indicate the presence of faeces.

The report said the creek was likely the "contaminated run-off is emanating from ineffective onsite sewerage systems in the township".

Mr Catford told the Chronicle he was concerned the water running through people's properties during rain events was also contaminated.

"All through the north side and the south side (of the town the water) runs into the creek and picks-up whatever is laying around," he said.

"The drainage system is appalling out here."

The sample results have prompted the council to conduct inspections of all on-site wastewater treatment systems in Howard and install warning signs at Maria Creek.

Mr Murray said the council would work with residents to ensure their sewerage systems were not leaking. At the council's last meeting Howard councillor James Hansen said it was a long wait for results.

"I am disappointed the report took so long," he said.

THE RESULTS

Show a higher than average contamination of Maria Creek

Enterococci found in the creek indicates the presence of faecal matter

Residents told to keep away from the water

Topics:  editors picks, fraser coast regional council, howard



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