All areas of Normanville Beach, Normanville Creek and Bungala River will reopen to the public today, after the latest round of sampling in these areas indicated water quality has returned to normal.
A 200-metre section of the beach, along with the connecting creek and river were – as a precaution – temporarily closed over the past few days after an estimated 500 kilolitres of untreated wastewater was discharged into the creek from an on-site storage tank at SA Water’s nearby Normanville Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The volume of discharge has been revised down from an earlier estimate of one megalitre.
Testing of water samples taken from targeted sample points has confirmed any contaminated water has since dissipated and bacterial levels have returned to normal.
The Department for Health and Wellbeing’s Principal Water Quality Adviser Dr David Cunliffe said all test results indicate the overflow was contained to the Normanville Creek.
“Although the risk of illness associated with the incident was low, if people have developed symptoms of gastro-intestinal illness after coming into contact with water in the affected areas, they should contact their GP or healthcare provider,” David said.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Production and Treatment Lisa Hannant said since the overflow was discovered, crews have worked to remediate the creek, including using vac-trucks to pump out the affected water.
“We’ve also undertaken regular visual inspections of the watercourse, during which no discernible odour or solids were observed, with any murkiness to the water likely a result of existing sediment and nutrients washing in from the surrounding catchment area,” Lisa said.
“Additionally, tankers have been used to maintain wastewater levels in the storage tank where the overflow occurred, with both wastewater from the tank and affected water from the creek transported to other nearby wastewater treatment plants to be treated.
“In parallel to this work, we have carried out an initial investigation into the cause of the wastewater overflow, which has identified a fault with the electrical and automatic alarm monitoring systems, and we’ve since made improvements to both.
“We apologise for the inconvenience this incident caused locals and visitors to the area, and assure them our comprehensive review of the event will help determine short to long term steps that need to be put in place to prevent a recurrence.”
The Normanville Wastewater Treatment Plant provides wastewater services to around 2000 homes and businesses in Normanville and Yankalilla. This week’s incident has not impacted these services.
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