Program cleans up local waterways

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Water sampling in Queanbeyan.

A NEW campaign will encourage industrial businesses in Queanbeyan to improve the quality of stormwater discharge of polluted runoff to protect local waterways and wildlife.

The program is a joint effort between Queanbeyan Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) and the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), and will be conducted throughout the East Queanbeyan light industrial area.

“Dirty and polluted stormwater and runoff from industrial areas can harm local animal populations, and habitat for platypus specifically,” said NSW EPA CEO Tracy Mackey.

“A little bit of pollution from each site can collectively have a big impact. Small changes by every business can make a difference and help to ensure our rivers are kept clean.”

The move comes after a major solvent spill into the Molonglo River from Cleanaway in May. The solvent, known as Vivasol 2046, is used for cleaning and is extremely harmful to aquatic wildlife, according to the authority.

EPA and council officers will focus on informing better practice of chemical storage and the importance of dedicated wash down areas that don’t flow into stormwater drains.

“The message is very simple – make sure only rain goes down your drain,” said Ms Mackey.

Upper Murrumbidgee Waterwatch facilitator Woo O’Reilly also emphasised the importance of not letting litter reach our waterways.

“Even small items like rubber bands and hair ties that wash drains could have a deadly impact on platypus,” she said.

“They forage with their bills with their eyes closed and just don’t see this sort of litter which can get caught around them.”

 

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