Study checks water safety

VenuesWest chairman Graham Partridge said it appointed engineers, architects and environmental scientists’ network GHD to conduct the study, which would outline options, possible constraints and likely costs.

‘If the study shows it will reduce bacteria, GHD will propose designing a stormwater bio-filtration system,’ Mr Partridge said.

The regatta centre was considering improving nutrient-stripping ponds, as it was highly impractical to regulate the presence of the water birds believed to be causing the contamination, Mr Partridge added.

Spikes in bacteria to unsafe levels have forced more than 20 closures, mostly to primary contact, at the venue in the past two years.

An email from the centre’s operations co-ordinator Jamie MacKenzie to Armadale MLA Tony Buti on July 29 said the centre had been closed for swimming since March.

Secondary activities, including rowing, were banned from May 2 to 14.

Water quality tests returned on July 26 showed the lake could be open for activities but the centre chose to leave the No Swimming signs in place for the time being, given that recent rainfall could lead to elevated bacteria levels.

The centre tests the water each fortnight, spending $200,000 on its water quality testing annually.

‘We will continue to manage to ensure public safety and if a solution to bacteria levels is identified in the future we will certainly be looking at the options,’ Mr Partridge said.