Water quality within the Townsville region is impacted by nutrients and sediments. Within Townsville, the main sources of nutrients and sediments are from point source pollutants and non-point source pollutants. A point source is a single localised point (such as a drain) where pollutants are discharged. Non-point sources (or diffuse sourced), refer to numerous sources of pollutants that have no specific point of discharge. This can include excess fertilizers from gardens or oils from roads being washed into our waterways.
Within Townsville, the major point sources are the Sewage Treatment Plants, which discharge into the Bohle River, Snaggy Creek, Louisa Creek Estuary and Cleveland Bay, and industrial discharges, which can include heavy metals and other contaminants. The non-point source pollutants are mainly from the urban environment, including fertilisers, pesticides, lawn clippings, litter and soil erosion.
Agricultural landscapes and grazing lands also contribute to non-point source pollutants. Grazing can cause erosion of gullies, hillslopes and/or streambanks, resulting in fine sediments being washed into waterways and out into the Reef. Horticulture and intensive agriculture can contribute to high concentrations of nutrients being washed into watercourses, especially after heavy rains.