Councils along the Georges River are banding together to prevent litter pollution from entering the water.
The Georges Riverkeeper’s anti-litter project works to prevent rain runoff from washing the littler into the Georges River and is funded by a $700,000 federal grant from the Environment Restoration Fund Program.
The project, called ‘Improving the Health of the Georges River: Zero Little in Georges River’, has a four-phase approach and support from councils including Campbelltown, Liverpool, Fairfield, Georges River and Sutherland.
Georges Riverkeeper program manager Beth Salt said it was estimated that 95% of the pollution in the Georges River is a result of stormwater runoff.
Stormwater pollution include oils, detergents and tyre residue that runs off roads, fertilisers, pesticides and lawn clippings that run off gardens, sediment or soil from construction sites, pet waste, chemicals, paints and oils that end up in outdoor drains, as well as gross pollutants from litter.
Sutherland is leading the research component and will look at the performance of Gross Pollutant Traps (GPTs), the feasibility of installing new GPTs, and developing a best-practice process for councils to use when considering stormwater management.
Liverpool Council will also conduct a GPT audit audit of more than 75 devices to gain more information about the products, so they can be operated and maintained more appropriately and function more effectively.
Campbelltown, Bankstown, Fairfield and Georges River councils have priority projects under way to upgrade crucial stormwater management infrastructure and improve the performance of, or replace, problem GPTs at critical sites.
In Fairfield, the council is upgrading a trashrack GPT and undertaking lanscaping and planting of native species to enhance the area around the trashrack at Kookaburra Park, Canley Vale.
A concrete driveway will also be constructed for access to maintain and clean the trashrack. The project will be completed by the end of the financial year.
Over in Georges River, the council has constructed a ski-jump GPT at Depot Road Creek, Mortdale, with additional erosion works to ensure the integrity of the creek.
Campbelltown Council was installing a trashrack GPT at Kooringa Reserve, Raby, to operate at low flow.
This project was due for completion on March 31. The council is also considering an additional project under the grant, which is still in the design and approval phase.
Georges Riverkeeper is also bringing this project to several schools across the Georges River catchment to teach students about litter, GPTs and stormwater. Students will conduct stormwater drain investigations, develop a campaign about the problem and create drain art to be installed in the community.
Federal Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Australian Government had invested $100 million, over four years from 2019-20 to 2022-23, to help ensure our environment was protected for future generations through the Environment Restoration Fund program.
“Cleaning up pollution is vital to improving the health of our rivers,” Minister Ley said.
Last financial year, Georges Riverkeeper prevented over 52 tonnes of rubbish from entering the river.