Infiltration basin protects Pumicestone Passage
  • Thursday 13 August 2015
Pumicestone Passage

Council has reassured the community the new infiltration basin at Golden Beach will further protect the Pumicestone Passage by significantly reducing pollution and has been designed to minimise the impact on residents and ensure their safety.

The basin will help improve the water quality of the northern end of the Pumicestone Passage, which has received poor ratings of between D+ and C+ in South East Queensland’s Healthy Waterways Report Card in recent years. These scores mean critical habitats are impacted.

Division 2 Councillor Tim Dwyer said Council had modified the landscaping, fencing and pathway design surrounding the basin in response to community feedback.

“We have listened and taken the community’s concerns on board and modified surrounding landscaping and fencing and the connecting pathway, to minimise impact on the park.

“Council aims to protect the environmental values of all our waterways and coastal foreshores, and through projects like this infiltration basin, Council is actively looking to protect the habitat that our wildlife use.

“The Pumicestone Passage is listed under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance* as an important site for migratory birds and it also supports diverse wildlife including turtles, dugong in southern areas, fish, crabs, oysters and juvenile prawns.

“The infiltration basin will significantly reduce pollution from the Earnshaw Street catchment, improving the amenity, cultural and ecological values of the waterway.

“Council aims for the Sunshine Coast to be Australia’s most sustainable region, and that would not be achievable without deliberate action to reduce pollution in our internationally-recognised waterway.

“This does require some compromise from our community as I know many people would prefer the basin was not constructed, and I hope people can understand the importance of this project and how it will work for many years to come.”

Cr Dwyer said the basin would look significantly different to its current state once it was completed.

“Council officers have assured me the finished design will look vastly different to the current construction as with any project,” he said.

“Low growing plants have been chosen carefully to ensure views for neighbouring properties are not affected, and these plants will be added to the basin towards the end of construction in October.”

How an infiltration basin works

Stormwater from the local catchment is diverted into the basin. The water will infiltrate into the sandy soils of the basin. The plants will absorb nutrients in the stormwater and the sand will also act as a filter. This will promote plant growth in the area around the basin and enhance the dune stability.

Fast facts

  • Similar vegetated infiltration basins are often built within modern subdivision developments and do not represent a concern for community safety. Successful infiltration basins on the Sunshine Coast can be found within Pelican Waters.
  • The basin will remain dry most of the time and is not considered a health and safety risk for the community.  Fencing (timber post and wire) will be installed on the western (road) side of the basin to prevent entry from the pathways. Low growing vegetation will be planted on the ocean side to discourage entry to the basin.
  • This particular site at was chosen because it offered a reduced footprint in the dunes, with the loss of a small amount of grassed area which was largely unsuitable for “kick and play” activities. The roots of the plants will also help stabilise the dunes.
  • The infiltration basin is not expected to produce an odour, as it is designed to not hold water and will be dry most of the time. The lack of water also means it is unlikely to attract mosquitoes.
  • Maintenance requirements include removing litter and debris, monitoring erosion and removing sediment, controlling weeds and replanting and cleaning out inlets and outlets.
  • Using elements of the natural landscape to improve stormwater quality and reduce environmental impacts is known as Water Sensitive Urban Design.

*The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance is also known as the Ramsar Convention. It is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable utilisation of wetlands recognising the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands and their economic, cultural, scientific, and recreational value.