A large number of industries discharge pollutants such as nutrients, heavy metals and other toxicants into streams. These contaminants can impact upon the health of streams, rivers and coastal waterways((Catchment Condition Online Maps website at Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Australia.)).
The number of industrial point sources per unit catchment area in Australia’s Intensive Landuse Zone was used as an indicator of ‘industrial point source hazard’ in the assessment catchment condition, during the National Land and Water Resources Audit((The assessment of catchment condition was conducted as a partnership between the Audit, the Bureau of Rural Sciences and CSIRO Land and Water with support and involvement of State and Territory natural resource management agencies. The final report (Project 7/8) to the National Land and Water Resources Audit by Walker, J., Veitch, S. Braaten, R., Dowling, T., Guppy, L., Herron, N (2001) is entitled Assessment of Catchment Condition in Australia’s Intensive Land Use Zone: A biophysical assessment at the national scale and is found at the following website Assessment of catchment condition in Australia’s intensive land use zone : a biophysical assessment at the national scale / Joe Walker, Simon Veitch.)). The point sources included quarries, mine sites, chemical plants, sewerage works, abattoirs and areas of intensive livestock production extracted from the Australian Rivers and Catchment Condition Database (formerly Wild Rivers((Stein, J.L., Stein, J.A. and Nix, H. 2001. Wild Rivers in Australia. International Journal of Wilderness 7(1), 20-24.))((Stein, J.L., Stein, J.A. and Nix, H. 2001. The identification of Wild rivers: Methodology and Database Development. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/35356267?selectedversion=NBD21532280))).
Coastal issues arising from industrial point sources
Some potential impacts on the coastal zone caused by industrial point sources are:
- increased loads of heavy metals and other toxicants, potentially leading to shellfish closures and fish kills;
- increased nutrient loads, potentially leading to eutrophication and related problems such as algal blooms, fish kills and anoxic & hypoxic events;
- degradation of coastal habitats; and
- declining fisheries and biodiversity.
Existing information and data
More information and maps showing ‘industrial point source hazard’ can be found at the Catchment Condition Online Maps website((Catchment Condition Online Maps website at Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Australia.)). Appendix I (pp. 311-312) in Volume 2 of the Australian Catchment, River and Estuary Assessment, 2002 contains a map of Australia’s River Basins and Drainage Divisions in which each river basin has been assigned a number. These catchment numbers can be matched to a large number of coastal waterways in pages 316-363 of the same document. The catchment point source hazard scores for a large number of river basins are available in Appendix B (pg 65-76) of the Assessment of Catchment Condition in Australia’s Intensive Land Use Zone: A biophysical assessment at the national scale((Catchment Condition Online Maps website at Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry Australia.)).