Greens (WA) MLC for the South West, Diane Evers, has called on the State Government to take immediate steps to ensure that no more waste water contamination occurs off the coast of Cape Peron.
Recent works by the Water Corporation, associated with a major upgrade of the Woodman Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, had resulted in a rise in microbiology levels.
More than 150 dead mullet, along with some jellyfish, had washed up on the Safety Bay foreshore on March 28. While they were too decomposed to determine if there was a link to the leakage, the Water Corporation was sufficiently alarmed to warn people not to swim or fish within one kilometre of the plant.
Ms Evers said it was paramount that the ecological health of the prime tourist region was maintained.
“Apart from the tourism aspect, the area serves as a diverse aquatic life nursery. Maintaining water quality is necessary to ensure fish stocks are not depleted,” she said.
“This is not the first time water quality has been affected by nearby waste treatment.”
In 2015, about 3.5 million litres of sewage flowed from a drain into the waters of Safety Bay, a leakage which went unnoticed for about two weeks.
Ms Evers said it was concerning to note that the Water Corporation could not guarantee the possibility of any future mishaps.
It said the $158 million upgrade to the Woodman Point facility had affected the efficiency of the wastewater amelioration process, in which waste is mixed with seawater to minimise the environmental impact.
Ms Evers said more stringent checks should be enforced to ensure there would be no repeat of the incident from the project, which is expected to be completed by October 2019.
“We want to ensure all future developments here prioritise the ecological health of this important WA water body,” she said.
Ms Evers also believes a world class coastal park could be established at Cape Peron.
“The recent scrapping of plans to develop the Mangles Bay Marine project shows how much the community values the region,” she said.
Following fierce opposition from locals and nearly 500 submissions against the project, the Western Australian Planning Commission recommended the plans be withdrawn.
Lands Minister Rita Saffioti said she now welcomed alternate projects on the land to boost jobs and create new places for people to visit.
“Creating a coastal park would not only help protect the region, but also boost its reputation as a tourist attraction,” Ms Evers said.