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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Building works cause fish kill in beachside lake

There has been a large fish kill in a lake at Beachmere near Bribie Island. This morning residents noticed thousands of fish floating on the surface of the lake. The fish had died overnight. Many species were affected and those identified include mullet, mangrove jack, bream, whiting and flathead. The cause is not confirmed but recent building works at the nearby sewage pumping station is suspected.

A marine biologist who lives near the lake has reported that a pipe from the building site is pumping approximately 2 litres of ground water per minute into the lake. The ground water is not contaminated with sewage but unfortunately it is rich in sulphur compounds. These compounds consume oxygen to form the ‘rotten egg gas’ or sulphur dioxide which residents have reported smelling. The lake is not flushed daily by the tide and inputs stay there for a while. The input of ground water from the building works is likely to be consuming the oxygen in the lake, leaving non for the fish and subsequently causing their death.

Ground water in the estuarine regions of southeast Queensland are often rich in sulphur compounds. When they are undisturbed they do no harm. When they are pumped into water that is poorly flushed fish kills do occur.

Poor planning appears to be responsible here. If the ground water had been pumped into a well flushed system then it is unlikely that such as large fish kill would have occurred.

Pumping out anoxic ground water into adjacent waterways is a common practice in southeast Queensland. Our reporters have seen it being done on waterfront developments on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts. Council should have foreseen the effects of this action and if an environmental consultant reviewed the development proposal, someone should be looking to see if they were negligent.

1 comment:

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