Sewage overflow impacts river conditions

*** Story updated at 10.50am 30 October 2018

Sydney Water and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) are asking the community to avoid recreational activities in the Parramatta River between Northmead and the Silverwater Bridge at Ermington. 

The Parramatta River is impacted by sewage (wastewater) pollution following an overflow from a wastewater pumping station at Northmead.  

As there is a potential risk to health, the community is requested to avoid activities in the river including swimming, rowing, fishing, for themselves and their pets.  

We will advise when these activities are able to resume. 

Sydney Water has installed warning signs around the site and along Parramatta River to the ferry wharf to advise the local community of the overflow. 

A comprehensive water quality monitoring program continues, and Sydney Water is taking steps to clean up the area by flushing it with fresh water and using aerators to increase the oxygen content. 

Sydney Water apologises for any inconvenience this may cause to residents in the area, and river users, and appreciate their continued patience and understanding. Sydney Water takes its responsibility to protect public health and the environment seriously, and we will conduct a full investigation to prevent similar incidents from happening again across our network. 

It is safe to continue recreational activities at Lake Parramatta as the Lake is upstream of the impacted area. However, WSLHD recommends to avoid swimming in Lakes or Rivers within three days after heavy rainfall due to potential impacts from stormwater inflows.

UPDATE: 30 October

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is working closely with Sydney Water to monitor water quality in the Parramatta River.

WSLHD’s public health unit is receiving reviewing sample results from the river on a daily basis.

Testing has shown that the water quality has improved over the last few days.

WSLHD will continue to monitor the results of sampling.

Although Sydney Water is taking all possible steps to reduce the risk of a future overflow, there is the potential for further sewage overflows whilst Sydney Water is working to reinstate the Wastewater Pumping Station at Northmead.

We recommend people avoid recreational use of the Parramatta River between Northmead and Ermington until the water quality is considered safe. This includes fishing or allowing pets to access the river.