Update on sewage spill - 24 April

Published on 24 April 2024

An independent investigation into a sewage spill detected in the Albert River in the northern Gold Coast earlier this month will examine the incident in totality, City of Gold Coast Executive General Manager of Infrastructure Michael Kahler has said.

He said Council has engaged a specialised engineering firm to undertake the investigation to determine the cause of the break, how it went undetected, and the effectiveness of the City’s response. It would also examine interaction with partner agencies.

Council officers have been working effectively with the relevant State agencies since the spill was identified and continue to do so.

Mr Kahler said the City understood the seriousness of the incident.  Until results of testing being undertaken by State agencies are available, speculation about the impact was unproductive.

“We know water quality test results over the past 2 weeks show the river is safe for recreational use, which is extremely good news,” Mr Kahler said.

“During the three months of the spill, we had no identifiable fish kills or adverse environmental impacts come to light.

“This does not mean there have been no impacts, but now we need to focus on what the science tells us.

“Investigations are underway to understand if the spill had any impacts on aquaculture or recreational fishing.  Safe Food Qld and Qld Health have advised initial test results should be available by the end of this week. 

These results should inform if the recommendation around eating fish can be lifted and if there were identified impacts on the seafood industry operating out of the river.”

Mr Kahler said initial investigations indicated that high flows in the Albert River during this period caused by several significant rainfall events, may have helped dilute the sewage and possibly lessened the impact.

“The sensible approach right now is to allow the experts to conduct their investigation and we will continue to update the community as new factual information comes to light.”