By Chris Noon - Still Creek Landcare
Still Creek Landcare have tested the water quality monthly for 12 years in three local locations: Charltons Ck; Still Ck at Mansfield Rd and Still Ck at Crosslands, after the various tributaries have joined.
We test for:
• Excess nutrients from fertilisers and waste water: Phosphates test
• Salts from human activities and waste water: Electrical conductivity test
• Faecal bacteria from human, livestock and other animal shit: E. coli test
• Sediment from erosion of soil due to animals, building, earth moving: Turbidity test
• Life in the water depends on the oxygen level: Dissolved Oxygen test
• Life itself in the water: inspect for presence of macroinvertebrate creatures
The condition of these waterways has not deteriorated over the last 12 years, although there has been an increase in E. coli detection in the last 18 months, but not to high levels. So we should all watch our waste water treatment systems and keep animal waste from lying around to seep into the creeks.
Based on our test results, these waters are clean enough to paddle in most of the time, but not after heavy rain and during high water flows because at those times more runoff occurs and more stuff gets washed in.
Want to know more? See our website for the results and analysis: http://www.stillcreeklandcare.com.au/our-catchment/water-quality/
Want to learn about the testing or to help do it? One of our long term volunteers is no longer able to do it so you will be welcome: see our contacts below.
We do this as part of the Australia-wide Waterwatch organisation, in Sydney called Streamwatch which is hosted by Greater Sydney Landcare Network: https://greatersydneylandcare.org/
Over the last year we have worked with Hornsby Shire Council and three other Streamwatch groups in the area to check our testing against the council professionals.