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The Cooks River Valley Association got some much-needed attention to their ongoing work to try & clean up the Cooks River yesterday. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald spoke about research done on the water quality by researchers at the University of NSW.
The researchers found, “pharmaceuticals including paracetamol, ibuprofen & ingredients from aspirin tablets along with trace elements of soaps, caffeine, insect repellent & household cosmetics. The surprising thing is that there is no sewage treatment plant anywhere along the river. This tells us that the sewers are constantly broken & leaking all along the river. The fact the chemicals were present at dry times as well as during periods of heavy rainfall indicate the problem was one of constant leakage rather than occasional overflows.” http://www.smh.com.au/environment/study-keeps-up-stink-over-polluted-river-20111023-1meii.html
I remember the shock I felt in a Council Meeting when a member of the community addressing the Councillors mentioned that faecal bacteria is often found in the Cooks River. He said that many of the old sewerage pipes in the area are cracked or broken & that they leak raw sewerage all the time. What you put down your sink or toilet at home does reach the Cooks River, as does everything that goes down stormwater drains. Even as far away as Newtown the stormwater catchment heads toward the Cooks River.
Community group, the Cooks River Valley Association, perform a number of activities that care for the river. Volunteers are always welcome to join in on regular bush regeneration work with Mudcrabs & for Streamwatch who regularly test & monitor the water quality from a number of sites along the river. Full training & ongoing support is given to Streamwatch volunteers.
There is also Cooks Eye, another part of the monitoring of the river. ‘Cooks Eye’ refers to the community as they are the one’s most likely to notice pollution in or near the river & help catch it early. The Cooks Eye posters are all the way along the Cooks River from the Alexandra Canal in Tempe Reserve & down towards Hurlstone Park & have phone numbers of who to contact if you see any pollution in the river. I became a ‘poster gal’ for Cooks Eye a while ago. This means that I look after an area of the Cooks River & check to see that the posters are still there, aren’t vandalized & replace them when necessary. This is such an easy volunteer job & more people are needed to help with this.
We can all do something to help the Cooks River, whether it is being careful not to put anything down our drains that shouldn’t go there or joining one of the volunteer groups that actively work to improve the river environment & water quality. Everything we do to help the river helps all the wildlife that lives on the river. Contact details for The Cooks River Valley Association are on the blogroll on the left of this page.
Another article on the subject by ABC news – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-10-24/sydney-river-given-open-sewer-status/3596832?section=nsw