Today the southern end of Manly has been closed to swimming as a result of "a dry weather overflow."
Just for a bit of background, there are four main sewerage plants near the coast in the Sydney region that pump out treated waste water a couple of kilometers offshore. Them being Warriewood, North Head, Bondi and Cronulla.
During heavy rainfalll events there are bypass systems which allow the semi-treated sewerage to flow out close to the shore-line. Add into the mix an onshore wind which is common with these weather events and you get sewerage entering the surf zone and beaches populated regularly by surfers and swimmers.
This article published on the SMH a few weeks ago points out that bypasses are occurring way to regularly and we're up to 114 already this year, that's nearly one every couple of days: Sewage overflows threaten Sydney beaches
Now, Sydney's been under fine weather for a couple of weeks, and there's been a "Dry Weather overflow". How the hell does this happen and how is it allowed to happen so often?
I've had numerous surfs in brown, green and even coca cola coloured water but luckily haven't got sick, but to think that every time I surf after some rain in a southerly wind I'm exposed to this is pretty off.
I'm sure there are a few stories going around about surfing in the poo, anyone willing to share?
craig, I have suspected for some time now that as well as bypass events we get upwellings from the discharge point 3km out drifting into the northern beaches. Then there is the issue of agal blooms. My observation is that they are much more frequent now than in the past. The construction of deep water out falls was not a long term solution to the problem. As populations and flows increase so will pollution levels on the beaches.
I surfed right through the worst of the sewage pollution when basically raw sewage was being discharged at Blue Fish Point. There were many days when you could smell the stink as soon as you got out of the car. I was lucky and never had any serious problems, a few stupendous chunders, but nothing worse. Unfortunately one of the locals died after getting blood poisoning when surfing with an open wound.
Painfully pedantic point. Surfing in sewerage would mean that you were somehow surfing inside the treatment plant since sewerage refers to the pipes and so on. Presumably you were actually surfing in sewage which is the liquid discharged by the plant.
That is absolutely disgusting,
Have you guys had Hep shots lately? Probably a good idea.
BB " Unfortunately one of the locals died after getting blood poisoning when surfing with an open wound." Wow thats bad, how long ago was that?
I do feel for you guys but there are nicer places to live, raise a family, work and surf! Especially not in sewer.
Early eighties from memory wellymon. He was a seriously good surfer who unfortunately did not realise how serious deep tissue infections can be until it was too late.
Cheers for clearing that up Blindboy, learn something new everyday!
And re places to live. I would have to say Sydney is probably the only big city worldwide that has consistent and good surf all year round.
Swells from north to east during summer and then from the south to east through winter as well as a great climate and generally warm water all year around!
Taking the Northern Beaches as my example, there are so many nooks and crannies with 16-17 beaches to choose from, all which react different to varying swell directions and offer varying wind protection. Then it's only half an hour by ferry into the city if you need, but I hardly go there at all.
There are some downfalls re crowds and the sewage/street water runoff and traffic (especially on the weekends) but most of these can be avoided if you're smart.
I had quite a few simple cuts get badly infected a couple of years ago surfing near the North Head outfall, and maybe this is the reason. Back home in SA I never get infections, just a small sea ulcer if continually surfing, but I guess that's because of the colder cleaner water with less bacterial content.
Craig , Yeah Northern Beaches is the best place to live in Sydney for sure, away from the hustle and bustle with good waves.
Yeh I'm a city boy craig, apartment living, lots of people, entertainment venues, all that stuff and waves too. At the moment in Sydney stormwater is a bigger problem than sewage as so many beaches have drains that discharge directly into the ocean. As soon as it rains the water quality goes down. Outflows from the lagoons are also a source of concern. Curl Curl lagoon is surrounded by old landfill sites as well as collecting all the storm water from the Brookvale industrial area. It actually helps keep the beach clean when it is closed by containing the stormwater but get the hell out of there once it is open! Those landfill sites were totally unsupervised and being so close to the factories there could be anything at all in there in terms of toxic chemicals as well as a very unhealthy brew of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
.......but I have to say, going back to the days of heavy sewage pollution, it certainly kept the crowds down!
They pump treated sewage out about 200M from the gunnamatta carpark east coast vic. Used to be heaps of health issues with surfers there, ear and throat infections, cuts would go nasty etc. Distincly remember half a floater drifting past when I was a grom in the 90's. There was a 'name and shame' style campaign around then-bumper stickers the odd add in the paper. It took a while but things seem to have got sorted. Start the same sort of campaign for your 'famous' beaches and theres a chance things might change, especially considering how the tourist perception can effect local councils
That all happened back before the deep ocean outfalls woohcs, actually the water quality in Sydney is often better than that of towns up and down the coast which are still discharging sewage out from the shore. And you're right it wasn't concern for the health of the locals that drove the change, it was to entice the tourist dollar!
Check this ad from the liftout to the 1987 Coke Classic in the Sun newspaper:
"By 1991, Sydney's three new long-range, deep-water ocean outfalls will be up to 4 kilometres offshore and down to about 80 metres deep. They will end any fear of ocean pollution"