NERP TE Project 4.4 Hazard assessment for water quality threats to Torres Strait marine waters, ecosystems and public health (JCU)

This project involved an assessment of all existing and potential sources of pollution to the Torres Strait marine environment. This was combined with information on water movement patterns to assess the hazard (and to some degree risk) of these pollutant sources to marine ecosystems and public health. This project was predominantly a desktop study with some field work to sewage treatment plants, and other point sources of potential pollutants. This project: 1. Collated information regarding Torres Strait water quality pollutant sources at a range of scales (regional to local). 2. Developed a better knowledge of water circulation patterns in the Torres Strait region through the development of a fine-scale model based on the Slim model. 3. Developed a hazard assessment of the sources of pollutants that affect marine ecosystems and public health in the Torres Strait region. This will form the basis of recommendations to management authorities to prioritise investment and political action to minimise pollution and public health/marine ecosystem damage. 4. Established recommendations for a water quality monitoring program for the Torres Strait region, designed to assess the status of water quality and measure the effectiveness of pollution management actions.

An understanding of the status of water quality in Torres Strait and its influence on marine food, human health, marine ecosystems and ecological processes is important for managing the health of people and the environment. Regional water quality issues include the potential discharge of pollution from the Fly River due to mining, and future projects involving oil palm plantations, the port at Daru, other mines in Papua New Guinea or West Papua and land clearing. Local sources of pollution potentially include sewage and stormwaterdischarge and shipping issues, such as oil spills and groundings.

Principal Investigator
Brodie, Jon, Mr TropWATER, James Cook University (TropWATER/JCU)
Co Investigator
Waterhouse, Jane, Ms C2O Consulting (C2O)

Publications / Data