Have you noticed how dirty the stormwater can become after heavy rain? This is stormwater pollution and it affects bird, fish and marine life and can also be a health risk for swimmers. There are different types of stormwater pollution:

  • litter (paper, plastic, cigarette butts)
  • chemicals (detergents, fertilisers, oils)
  • natural pollution (leaves, grass clippings, animal droppings)
  • sediment pollution (soil erosion, run-off from building sites, unsealed roads)

Urban Stormwater Management Plan

One of Ballina Shire Council’s priorities is to reduce stormwater pollution in our community. We have developed an Urban Stormwater Management Plan to ensure we have modern, efficient and well-designed stormwater management systems.

The plan aims to:

  • better manage stormwater run-off in towns and villages
  • reduce the amount of pollution entering stormwater drains
  • investigate new technology and stormwater control systems
  • identify target areas for future stormwater quality improvement devices
  • continue to educate the community that only “rain is for the drain”

We have identified a number of stormwater catchments that we are targeting to reduce pollution and improve water quality.

Chickiba Wetlands

Council has developed a Wetland Implementation Management Action Plan aimed at restoring the health of the Chickiba wetlands which have been slowly dying because of poor drainage.

We are also working on improving the drainage of nearby sporting fields and reducing the risk of localised flooding which should also improve the quality of stormwater run-off into the Chickiba Wetlands.

Lake Ainsworth

Lake Ainsworth is a freshwater lake at Lennox Head. Despite being very close to the ocean, it is a closed system and does not connect to the Ocean. Lake Ainsworth is very popular with locals and holiday makers, particularly during the summer months.

Lake Ainsworth is affected by stormwater run-off, and its high use also results in other types of pollution. The water quality in Lake Ainsworth is not good at certain times and there are periodic outbreaks of blue-green algae.

The ongoing health of Lake Ainsworth is one of our priorities and plans to improve water quality are included in a Master Plan for the Lake Ainsworth precinct.

Shaws Bay

Shaws Bay is a popular tidal swimming and recreation area adjacent the Richmond River at Ballina.

During heavy rain Shaws Bay is particularly affected by stormwater run-off which affects water quality.

Council’s Shaws Bay Estuary Management Plan addresses stormwater run-off and water quality as well as other issues including erosion, mangroves and sea grass.

Alstonville Creek (Tanamera Drain)

The Tanamera Drain at Alstonville is a part of Alstonville Creek.   The overgrown nature of this drain has reduced the flow rates and decreased the public amenity.

Council has developed a concept plan for rehabilitating a section of the Alstonville Creek stormwater catchment reserve from Apex Park to the Tanamera stormwater reserve.

An initial trial restoration project aims to restore approximately 100m of the drain with native riparian vegetation.

Cape Byron Marine Park (Boat Channel, Seven Mile Beach)

Stormwater run-off into the Boat Channel/Moat at Lennox Head and along some sections of Seven Mile Beach affects the water quality and marine life in these areas which are a part of the Cape Byron Marine Park.

This area has been identified as a candidate for receiving storm water quality improvement devices as the storm water network is upgraded.

North Lakes

There is a history of water quality issues at North Lakes including stormwater run-off, algal blooms, fish kills and decreased amenity for the community. A Water Quality Management Plan for the area has been developed.

Flooding and Ballina Floodplain

Much of Ballina Shire is located on the Richmond River flood plain. Some streets and roads within Ballina, Wardell and Lennox Head are located below the Highest Astronomical Tide level. Because of the low lying nature of the ground stormwater can often drain slowly, this issue is made worse when rain occurs during high tides, high flows in the river or during storms.