Bayside Council is disappointed the Australian Government has decided to allow Sydney Water to continue discharging untreated wastewater into Mill Stream.
“Considering COVID-19 fragments have already been detected in the NSW sewerage network, it is unbelievable that the Australian Government thinks it is acceptable for this significant waterway to be used as a sewage overflow,” said Mayor Joe Awada.
“It is unacceptable that Sydney Water has been unable to implement measures to stop the sewage overflows and Council calls on Sydney Water to fast-track the works required to stop this from happening.
“Mill Stream also plays an important role linking the significant waterways of Botany Bay and the Botany Wetlands. Regular discharge of sewage in such a sensitive area is just environmental vandalism. It is unhealthy for our community and the environment.
In 2018 millions of litres of untreated sewage flowed into Botany Bay, creating a risk to those exposed to the effluent.
Mill Stream flows directly into Botany Bay, a key recreational swimming area of the Sydney region bordered predominantly by the heritage listed Cook Park.
The overflow point is directly upstream to Foreshore Beach, the only local beachfront for residents in the eastern side of the Bayside LGA.
Foreshore Beach is already impacted by sewage overflows discharging from nearby Mill Stream and continues to be graded as very poor in the State Government’s annual beach report.
Botany Bay is an important recreational fishing area and Council is concerned about the long-term impacts on human health if people are eating fish from a waterway which is impacted by regular sewage overflows.
Botany Bay also has significant environmental value as habitat for threatened and migratory birds, fish habitat, threatened sea grass as well as many different species of animals and plants.
Mill Stream plays an important role in annual migration of long finned eels from Centennial Park Sydney to New Caledonia to breed. These eels travel 2,000 kilometres to return to their place of birth, including swimming through Mill Stream.
Bayside Council has identified Mill Stream and Botany Wetlands as important community assets with significant potential to meet the increased community recreational needs. Continual sewage overflows will significantly restrict the usability of this area.