Call to clean up waterway after rubbish found downstream of trap

FILTH: Environmentalist Ian McLean collects some of the rubbish in the waterway near Leeds Parade which is beyond the gross pollutant trap. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0913jkrubbish3
FILTH: Environmentalist Ian McLean collects some of the rubbish in the waterway near Leeds Parade which is beyond the gross pollutant trap. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0913jkrubbish3

The head of an environmental group in Orange has called for work on the city’s gross pollutant trap after he found several large items of rubbish had escaped it.

Ian McLean is the president of the Orange chapter of OzFish Unlimited which is seeking to clean up Australia’s waterways to protect fish and the environment.

Mr McLean said the trap, in Blackmans Swamp Creek near the intersection of Dalton Street and Leeds Parade, appeared to have suffered damage which had spread some of its bars allowing items to pass through the grate during recent rain.

However, an Orange City Council spokesman said the trap was functional, was regularly maintained and had collected 70 tonnes of rubbish in the last financial year.

Mr McLean said the trap was a key part of environmental protection in Orange.

It goes all the way to the mighty Macquarie River.

Ian McLean, President OzFish Unlimited Orange

“All of our [storm] water from Orange comes down here,” he said.

“It goes all the way to the mighty Macquarie River.”

Mr McLean showed the Central Western Daily items of rubbish beyond the trap including a boogie board, a length of plastic piping, a car log book and a gin bottle, which he said should have been caught in the trap.

However, he said after heavy rain the items had floated through or over the grate to end up in the reeds and grass just beyond the Leeds Parade bridge.

“There needs to be a better system, the grate is damaged, they are like three times the gap they should be,” he said.

“This is the last point of call to trap all our rubbish before it goes to the river.

“How does a bit of ag pipe get down there?

“I’ve had local fishermen come in to my [fishing supplies] shop and say there’s rubbish everywhere.”

Mr McLean said council needed to repair the trap.

“If this one’s not good enough maybe we need another one,” he said.

He collected the rubbish and removed it from the site.

Council spokesman Nick Redmond said council regularly maintained the trap and picked up items that got past it during heavy rain.

“We get the vast majority [of rubbish],” he said.

“There is a fair bit of pressure. Some of it will get through.

“To point out a boogie board on the other side of it is a misunderstanding of how it works.”

He said the trap captured pollutants during low-flow periods and needed gaps to allow small particles through.

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