Botany Bay poisoned with 5 million litres of sewage

ALEX HEINKE reports.

Sydney Water says it is waiting on test results to decide the next stage of the clean up in Botany Bay after a major sewage spill.

The company’s networks manager, Gary Hurley, said 5 million litres of sewage was released into the bay after a power outage at Cronulla led to the failure of a pumping station late last week.


He said while that number appeared large, it was a small percentage of the overall water volume in Botany Bay.

Mr Hurley said initial testing at 18 sites over the weekend had shown the waste matter had dispersed but the formal results were yet to come back.

“It is due to the tides,” he said.

“The bay is large with 100,000 to one dilution and the tides flush it out twice a day.”

He said there was no sign of the sewage going elsewhere.

“We’ve tracked it everywhere right around the bay and we cannot find it, which means it has dispersed naturally.”

Mr Hurley said the original problem was a large power outage.

“The main power grid failed,” he said.

“In that sort of situation we normally would have had dual supply. Unfortunately both of those failed as one was under maintenance and the other failed.”

The Opposition’s water spokesman, Mick Veitch, said that was not good enough.

“I cannot understand why in 2015 Sydney Water did not have suitable back-up systems, how they haven’t conducted a desktop trial to make sure they do have suitable back-up systems for a scenario just like this,” he said.

Mr Hurley said swimmers should check with Beachwatch before returning to the water.