Tests answer Lake bacteria mystery

On May 23, in a response to questions by Comment News, VenuesWest chairman Graham Partridge also promised to look at options if a solution to bacteria levels was identified in the future.

The bacterial levels and closures were likely to affect some bookings at the centre, and the centre was also closed to swimming in March.

The Department of Health’s website says testing for enterococci is used to indicate the possible presence of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and protozoa in the water.

Mr Partridge defended VenuesWest’s belief that ongoing bacterial issues at the centre were caused by water bird faeces.

Last week in the Comment News, the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) questioned whether high bacteria levels could be attributed to bird faeces in such a big body of water.

‘We acknowledge the Department of Environment and Conservation’s general experience in these matters but this is a unique venue and the DEC has not conducted any testing or studies at the venue at any stage that we are aware of,’ Mr Partridge said.

‘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.’

He said the conclusions about the source of bacteria levels in Champion Lakes were taken explicitly from a report on the venue commissioned by environmental consulting firm RPS.

The report from 2011 stated: ‘The main contributor to bacteria levels found in the lake is animal faeces. Unfortunately the regulation of animals that visit the area, particularly water birds, is highly impractical and therefore controlling the level of faecal contamination on the lake will be challenging.’

RPS is the contracted to test the water fortnightly for VenuesWest.