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Water Complaints

Algal Blooms

Contact the EPA Division’s Incident Response Hotline 1800 005 171, or email to incidentresponse@environment.tas.gov.au.

Algal blooms are a naturally occurring component of many aquatic systems and occur when the growth of algae is excessive. Factors such as warm water temperatures, still water conditions and increased nutrient availability have been identified as triggers to algal blooms.

A non-toxic algal bloom produced by the algae Noctiluca scintillans, known as 'the red tide' is commonly seen in eastern and south-eastern Tasmanian waters during the warmer months. During the day blooms resemble pinkish clouds in the water and sometimes glow at night. Noctiluca scintillans is not considered to be harmful to humans.

Certain species of algae (such as blue-green algae and dinoflagellates) produce toxins, and may pose a health hazard to those using the water body for recreation. However, the production of toxins is influenced by environmental conditions and so not all blooms of toxin–producing species actually produce toxins. Toxins in some algae species (e.g. Gymnodinium catenatum) can also accumulate in shellfish and result in health risks to the ecosystem and human consumers.

Blue-Green Algae guidelines are available here.

Drinking water – reticulated system

Contact the Department of Health and Human Services on 1300 135 513 for drinking water concerns.

Drinking water – household storage tanks

This is the property owner’s responsibility – property owner to arrange water testing if required.

Fish kills

Contact the EPA Division’s Incident Response Hotline 1800 005 171.

A number of fish kills are reported to the EPA Division every year, with the highest occurrence of kills usually reported around the month of February. The large majority of fish kills have been found to be due to natural causes; such as marine species being caught in areas of low salinity; or associated with the occurrence of algal blooms; or through oxygen depletion. Other natural causes are due to a natural death after a spawning cycle. The EPA Division does however investigate fish kills when reported in case they have resulted from a pollution event.

Oil / Chemical / Fuel Spills into waterways

Contact the EPA Division’s Incident Response Hotline 1800 005 171.

Pesticides

For complaints or information regarding herbicide or pesticide use, crop and over-spraying, and on pesticide contamination of waterways (lakes, rivers, dams), contact the Spray Referral Unit, Chemical Management Branch, DPIPWE on 1800 005 244.

Sewage spills into waterways

Contact the EPA Division’s Incident Response Hotline 1800 005 171.

Sewage spills from treatment plants, pipes and pumps can adversely impact both human health and the environment. Management of these spills is shared across the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, the EPA and the person responsible for the sewerage (such as the Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Corporations).

The EPA must be notified when the sewage spill has potential to cause serious or material environmental harm. The EPA must also be notified of nuisance issues – such as odours which might interfere with a person's enjoyment of the environment – when that nuisance comes from a larger ("level 2") wastewater treatment plant. A guide on information requirements to help achieve compliance with section 32 of the environmental management and pollution control act 1994 may assist people making notifications relating to sewage spills.

For nuisance complaints regarding pump stations, sewage reticulation, or smaller "on-site" sewage systems contact the Environmental Health Officer at your Local Council.

Stormwater contamination

Contact Local Council for complaints and notifications regarding stormwater pollution.

If however you have observed someone tipping oil or another pollutant into a stormwater drain contact the Incident Response Hotline 1800 005 171.