Stormwater pollution impacts upon our economy, the recreational value of our waterways and the ecological health of the natural environment. When urban areas are developed, land is converted from farmland or bushland into impervious surfaces such as roads, roofs and footpaths. These surfaces prevent stormwater from infiltrating into the ground, instead carrying pollutants such as sediment, nutrients and litter into stormwater drains which flow into our creeks, rivers, bays and ultimately the ocean.
Did you know... nitrogen and phosphorous are nutrients. In urban areas they can come from fertilizers, garden waste, animal waste or out of the atmosphere. When they enter waterways, they can contribute to algal blooms and even cyanobacterial blooms which are toxic to people. If you have ever seen a lake with green water, there’s a good chance nutrients are part of the problem.
To reduce the impact of stormwater, we must:
- Reduce the amount of impervious surfaces created in new urban designs.
- Harvest stormwater from urban catchments and reuse it within local communities as an alternative to traditional water sources.
- Use stormwater treatment devices such as constructed wetlands and raingardens in new and existing urban areas. These can be attractive additions to the landscape, whilst filtering pollutants and slowing the flow of potentially damaging water.
In Queensland, The State Planning Policy requires many new developments treat their stormwater to reduce its impacts. Through guidelines, training and policy reform, Healthy Waterways and our members build the region’s capacity to manage stormwater and deliver sustainable urban water management. We facilitate ‘Communities of Practice’ and provide trusted, practical and independent advice to improve development outcomes.
Examples of work undertaken by our members:
Moreton Bay Regional Council – Glenmay Wetland project: Glenmay Wetland is a constructed wetland designed to capture and treat urban stormwater before entering Cundoot Creek, a tributary of the Caboolture River. The wetland has been specifically designed to provide opportunities for local school children to learn about the facility and the stormwater treatment function it provides.
Logan City Council – Allgas Street Stormwater Bio-infiltration Systems: In July 2013 Logan City Council engaged Evolve Environmental Solutions/E2DesignLab to undertake the design and construction of a stormwater bio-infiltration treatment system for the Allgas to Moss Street sub catchment.
Brisbane City Council – Creek Filtration Systems: After the first year the program improved water quality through decreased total stormwater runoff and improved flow regimes, increased productive vegetation and carbon sequestration and improved social amenity.
Find out about the projects undertaken by local landholders and community groups in your local catchment area to protect and improve our waterways, and how you can get involved.
Living Waterways is a best practice environmental management approach that assists practitioners and government to deliver enduring and affordable outdoor spaces which engage the surrounding communities.
Healthy Waterways recommend using MUSIC v5 or v6 to ensure compliance with stormwater pollutant load reduction. We are seeking informal feedback to objectives that deliver the best outcome in a cost-effective way.