An overflow of treated sludge on South Australia’s Christies Beach has occurred following an illegal break-in at SA Water’s Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Principal Water Quality Adviser from SA Health, David Cunliffe, said testing of sea water has shown slightly elevated levels of contamination at the creek outlet, which can still pose a small health risk if people come in contact with the water.
“Our precautionary measure to close a section of sea water to swimmers yesterday was appropriate, given today’s test results,” Dr Cunliffe said.
SA Water’s Acting Senior Manager of Production and Treatment, Daniel Hoefel, said crews spent much of Monday cleaning up Christie Creek and stopping the spread of sludge into the ocean.
“We used equipment called vac-trucks to pump the affected water from the creek and this was then taken back to our Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant to be treated and either reused or safely returned to the environment,” Dr Hoefel said.
“We have undertaken another round of sampling from the section of sea water, with these results expected to be available tomorrow afternoon.
“We are continuing to assist South Australian Police with their investigation into the incident.
“We will also take the opportunity to review security arrangements at our major facilities, to make sure they remain fit for purpose.”
Christies Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant has continued to operate as normal since the incident, providing sewerage services to homes and businesses in Adelaide’s southern suburbs.
The plant also provides around 23 million litres of recycled water a day for toilet flushing and irrigation of agricultural areas in McLaren Vale and Willunga.
Lauren Butler is the assistant editor for Utility Magazine. She’s based in Melbourne, Australia.