Pesticide likely cause of creek pollution

Stemming the problem: Fire and Rescue NSW Hazardous Material personnel assist with the removal of contaminated material from a stormwater basin as part of the Jamison Creek clean-up effort.
Stemming the problem: Fire and Rescue NSW Hazardous Material personnel assist with the removal of contaminated material from a stormwater basin as part of the Jamison Creek clean-up effort.

A massive fish kill in Jamison Creek at Wentworth Falls was caused by a pesticide that was most likely released via a stormwater outlet in Wilson Park, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has found.

The contaminant was identified as a termiticide, a pesticide commonly used for termite control, with test results suggesting it entered the creek via the stormwater outlet.

Blue Mountains City Council, with the assistance of the Fire and Rescue NSW hazardous material team, co-ordinated the removal of sediment from a stormwater basin on private land last week to prevent further contamination of Jamison Creek.

“It is reassuring to know that the source of the contamination has been found and cleaned up. I commend the inter-agency response to this pollution incident by council, the EPA, Fire and Rescue NSW, and NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries Division,” said Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles.

The council has commenced investigations into the potential cause of the pollution and will continue regular monitoring of the water quality and waterbugs in Jamison Creek to assess ongoing impacts of the contamination and the rate of recovery.

“This pollution incident is a stark reminder of how sensitive our environment is,” said the mayor.

“Whilst this particular chemical is considered to be of a low level of toxicity for humans, it is highly toxic to aquatic life.

“The damage to natural systems from this type of pollution incident is long lasting and in this case, it may take years before we see adult yabbies in Jamison Creek again as it takes the population a long time to recover. That also has implications for all of the other animals which depend on them as a food source, so the impacts are far reaching.

“I encourage all residents to make use of Council’s Household Chemical collection to dispose of their household chemicals safely. I also urge all commercial users of pesticides to do so with utmost caution and in accordance with best practice standards.”

The pollution was first spotted on Saturday, July 7.