The Kiama Municipality has a number of river and creek systems that are part of large catchments such as the Macquarie Rivulet, Minnamurra River, Werri Lagoon, Crooked River and Shoalhaven River catchments, as well as numerous small streams draining directly to the ocean.
The main impacts on water quality are from pollutants, including litter, carried by stormwater runoff, and untreated sewerage effluent entering waterways from on-site sewerage management systems and overflows or bypasses at sewage treatment plants.
Council and the Beachwatch Program (coordinated by Department of Environment and Conservation and Sydney Water Corporation) monitor water quality at various beaches, estuaries and creeks throughout the Municipality. This data is available in Council's State of the Environment Report (Chapter 3, Water) and the Department of Environment and Conservation. Some local schools and members of the community participate in the Sydney Water Streamwatch Program.
Sand filter and enviropods in Kiama central business district
A series of stormwater pit litter traps have been installed in 106 drains in the Kiama Central Business District as part of the Black Beach Catchment Caretakers Project, which was assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Stormwater Trust. These pit traps, called Enviropods (at-source stormwater entry-pit pollutant traps), capture gross pollutants such as litter and organic matter, preventing them flowing through the stormwater system into Black Beach.
In addition to the pit traps, Council also installed a sand filter in Hindmarsh Park, Kiama, to capture finer pollutants such as metals, phosphorus and hydrocarbons. The underground system, which is grassed and trafficable by pedestrians, includes permeable concrete pipes that are chemically and physically enhanced to promote the removal of such pollutants.
This new project aims to bring together many aspects of water quality management, including water monitoring by Council, active participation in monitoring by the community, and education of all sectors of the community (including Council) to reduce the impact of their activities on water quality. It utilises the successes of previous education projects and aims to involve the participation of the local community.
Stormwater Pollution -Fact Sheet (pdf 254 KB)
Kiama Municipal Council prepared a Stormwater Management Plan in 1999 (pdf 4372 KB) in accordance with the requirements of Section 12 of the Protection of the Environment Administration Act 1991. In 2003, this plan was reviewed (pdf 655 KB). The plan's purposes are to:
Council's progress towards achievement of the strategies outlined in the Plan is reported annually in the State of the Environment Report (Chapter 3, Water; page 23).
Council coordinates Estuary Management Committees for each of the estuaries of Minnamurra River Estuary Management Plan (pdf 655 KB) and Crooked River Estuary Management Plan (pdf 2701 KB), which include representatives from Council, relevant Government Departments and the Community. Estuary Management Plans have been prepared for both of these estuaries, in accordance with the New South Wales Estuary Management Policy. These plans include strategies to manage the estuaries in a sustainable manner. Council's progress towards achievement of these strategies is reported annually in the State of the Environment Report (Chapter 3, Water).
The management of domestic waste water and sewage is important for the health of the community and for the natural environment. All on-site sewage management systems have been risk-classified based on their proximity to waterways, soil types and flood risk. Council inspects each risk category accordingly to ensure they are operating effectively and have no adverse impacts on human health or the environment. Council prepared an On-Site Sewage Management Strategy in 2004.
On-Site Sewage Management Strategy (pdf 426 KB), adopted by Council 19 October 2004, was prepared to provide effective sewerage management. Effective management of domestic sewage and waste water is important for public health and the wellbeing of all residents, the environment and for sustainable use of land. Management of sewage on-site is often not seriously considered or is allocated a low priority in public and household affairs. However, it is vital that a proper balance is maintained between the volume of waste water and the concentration of nutrients and organic matter held in suspension on the one hand, and the ability of the installed apparatus to cope and the land to absorb on the other. Any imperfection in the operation of a septic tank or its land application area can lead to contamination of a watercourse, and/or create a major public health risk at least for the immediate householders if not to an extended community.
Council's Environmental Health Officer and Ranger Services Officers investigate complaints received by Council relating to water pollution, and the Department of Environment and Conservation investigates complaints regarding water pollution from scheduled premises and activities. Clean Up Notices, Prevention Notices or Penalty Infringement Notices for water pollution offences may be issued by these officers under the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997.
Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy (pdf 1.16 MB) aims to incorporate principles such as:
Council has developed a Water Sensitive Urban Design Policy (pdf 1.16 MB) to ensure that building design and development incorporates effective water and soil management measures to implement such principles.
A new requirement for residential developments came into effect on July 1, 2005 - the Building Sustainability Index (BASIX). BASIX is a web-based planning tool for Councils and proponents of residential dwellings to assess the potential performance of their development against a set of sustainability indices, including water conservation and stormwater. For water, developments will be required to achieve a BASIX rating of 40 for water conservation. Achieving this rating will mean the potential reduction of potable water consumption by 40%.
Last updated: Friday 4 January, 2013