Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) CEO Roy Cummins said the Port of Brisbane was leading Queensland’s first scientifically-based and assessed offsite stormwater treatment pilot project in the Lockyer Valley, which was improving water quality in South-east Queensland.
“In its first 12 months, the pilot project prevented 3,800 tonnes of sediment—the equivalent of 200 truckloads of dirt—from entering Laidley Creek, the Brisbane River and Moreton Bay,” he said.
“The works have also significantly increased the resilience and productivity of the adjoining farm land by reducing erosion and providing protection from potential major flood events. It held up well during the recent heavy rainfall events last month.
“Port of Brisbane is committing more than $1 million over three years to fund the project and we are working with a number of partners to deliver it.”
PBPL was recognised at the recent 2016 Healthy Waterways Awards, winning the Sustainable Water Management Award and the major award, the Minister’s Grand Prize – awarded to the most innovative and outstanding winner of all the award categories.
PBPL will donate the $10,750 it received in award prize money to Tangalooma Ecomarines – a Brisbane-based not-for-profit group that works with schools, individuals and groups to protect Moreton Bay’s marine environment and wildlife. The donation will provide additional funding for new schools to participate in EcoMarine programs.
The first stage of the project involved stabilising and rehabilitating a 750 metre section of badly degraded creek bank at Laidley Creek, located 100km upstream from the port, and re-planting more than 4,000 native trees and grasses. It adjoins valuable horticultural land owned by Mulgowie Farming Company
, who partnered in the project.
It also included a major research component with scientists using innovative techniques to identify the sources of sediment pollution at the Port.
Every year, more than 500,000 tonnes of sediment enters the lower Brisbane River, with 80% being previously identified as coming from just 20% of the catchment – mostly from eroded streams in the Lockyer Valley. Heavy rainfall events cause these degraded creeks to erode further, dirtying the water and transferring sediment to Brisbane River and into Moreton Bay.
“After the 2013 floods, more than two million tonnes of sediment was deposited in the port’s navigational channel, requiring extensive dredging to safely re-open it,” said Mr Cummins.
“As a result, PBPL looked at new ways to treat stormwater run-off to reduce the chances of this recurring while still delivering the best environmental outcomes. Tackling the problem at its source achieves this.
“Sediment pollution is a key issue being addressed by SEQ Councils and the State Government through the Resilient Rivers Initiative, and this pilot project is building on that important work.”
PBPL will now combine offsite and existing onsite stormwater treatments at the Port of Brisbane to reflect best practice methodologies and continue to deliver the best environmental outcomes for the port and the broader community.
PBPL worked with a range of partners to implement the pilot project: SEQ Catchments, Lockyer Valley Regional Council, Mulgowie Farming Company, Healthy Waterways, Queensland Government (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Department of Science, information Technology and Innovation), Planfuture, Alluvium, BMT WBM, Griffith University (Australian Rivers Institute), 02.
Media contact: Emily Heenan – 0491 222 518