Raw sewage in floodwaters as 30 stations inundated
UPDATE 2.20PM: UNITYWATER is uncertain of how much sewage has been released into stormwater systems following the loss of power to 30 pumping stations across the Sunshine Coast.
Sewage is flowing from stations at Yandina, Eumundi, Bli Bli, Cooroy, Noosaville, Woombye, Mooloolah Valley, Buderim, Pacific Paradise, Sunshine Beach, Coolum and Bellvista.
Unitywater executive manager customer delivery Rob Dowling said in extreme weather events the majority of overflows were caused by stormwater entering and overloading the sewerage network.
He said given the circumstances and huge volumes of stormwater the amount of sewage being discharged remained unknown.
"These types of overflows are a normal occurrence in extreme weather events such as the one we have just experienced," Mr Dowling said.
"That heavy rain has a dilution effect and helps mitigate the environmental impact."
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Unitywater has installed generators at some sites to restore operation.
"We are continuing to work with Energex to ensure all sites have power returned as soon as possible," Mr Dowling said.
"We have deployed all available staff into affected areas who are working tirelessly to return us to normal operating conditions.
"It is important to remember that following extreme weather events, waterways can be contaminated with debris and residential runoff from pets and septic systems, development runoff such as sediment, fertiliser, oil and through natural bird and bat populations."
Unitywater has advised residents with any health concerns we suggest they contact their GP or Queensland Health.
11.50AM: SWIMMERS and surfers have been warned to stay out of water with 30 sewerage pump stations overflowing today and high amounts of debris around.
Sunshine Coast Local Disaster Management Group co-ordinator Andrew Ryan said it was a matter of public health and safety.
"We ask people to stay out of flood waters, as always, and also stay out of our waterways in case of possible contamination and risk from debris," My Ryan said.
Dr Mason Stevenson said people entering surf contaminated with run off or flood water risked serious illness that could take weeks rather than days to get over.
"The principal risk is gastro intestinal illness from gross bacterial contamination caused by human and animal waste and effluent," Dr Stevenson said.
He said bacterial contamination was expected to rise considerably in flood waters, rivers and coastal river mouth beaches in particular.
"We can expect to see gastro enteritis cases with vomiting and diarrhoea which could last weeks, not one or two days like viral or food poisoning."
Dr Stevenson warned cases of ear infection would also spike in the coming days.
People with breaks in the skin or open cuts should also be aware of the risk of skin infections.