Water quality monitored at Lake Colac

Published on 10 January 2019

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Water quality monitored at Lake Colac

Colac Otway Shire Council has initiated water quality assessments around Lake Colac and elevated Enteroccocci levels have forced the Council to issue warnings that the water is unsuitable for swimming.

Council Chief Executive Peter Brown said Council would place signs along the lake foreshore and at Barongarook Creek advising people that the poor water quality was unsuitable for swimming.

Mr Brown said Council had proactively tested the water at three sites at or near the lake in response to an increase in recreational use and was developing a management plan to monitor water quality and detect causes of poor water quality.

“There have been no reports of concerns but Council will monitor the water quality to keep people informed if there are any issues,” Mr Brown said.

“Initial results of microbial testing at three locations along Lake Colac before Christmas indicated that further investigation was required to assess water quality in the lake and at Barongarook Creek.

“Tests recorded Enteroccocci levels at Lake Colac beach at 88cfu/100ml and greater levels at Barongarook Creek and Armstrong Street stormwater outfall.”

A microbial result above 100cfu/100ml on a single sample is cause for further assessment.

“However further monitoring this week has shown elevated Enteroccocci levels at the Lake Colac Beach, indicating poor water quality for swimming and recreational use,” Mr Brown said.

“The monitoring has shown that levels are fluctuating and we need to identify the source, develop a management plan and continue monitoring the water quality.

“The suspected source of poor water quality is stock, birds and dog faeces which is why a management plan to investigate and improve the water quality is so important.

“There has been no historic evidence of illness associated with the lake and Barongarook Creek area despite it being used as a swimming hole since water levels have risen.

“But it is important to have signs informing people of poor water quality and that swimming and recreational use is not recommended.

“People should avoid contact with the water.

“Council will continue to monitor the water quality at Lake Colac, as it does at Wye River and Kennett River, and when poor water quality is recorded, Council will advise the public with warning signs at the sites and through local media.

“Council is also urging dog owners to make sure they take a bag when walking their pets and pick up faeces to reduce the impact on the lake from contaminated stormwater,” he said.

“Part of the long-term management plan for improving water quality into Lake Colac will be a public awareness campaign to let people know how important it is for people to clean up after their dogs because otherwise it ends up being washed into the lake.”