Consultants team to protect rivers

A MINING industry computer consultancy is turning green.

The Black Stump Consulting Group has joined forces with WA Catchment Management Services to produce a spatial database of water quality from Perth’s eighty-one main stormwater drains.

The demonstration version of the Stormwater Information Management System is due soon.

BSCG’s Narelle Mullan said they were extending on work they had done in the mining industry.

“We’re trying to focus on moving into environmental consulting areas of geographical information systems,” Ms Mullan said.

Colleague Kim Maxwell said the company always had an interest in ‘green’ topics.

“To the best of our knowledge, a lot of the environmental work being done is expressed in bland tables,” Mr Maxwell said.

“We think people would see the data better if it was in pictures. If it can be expressed as a map, all the better.”

GIS allows databases to be expressed as maps.

In this case, data from the analysis of water taken in spring and autumn each year from around Perth’s major storm drains will be presented in a map format to subscribers on the Internet.

The SIMS will allow subscribers to search for information on water quality around a specific drain, from the map itself or even by date.

Ms Mullan said the management of storm water drains had become the responsibility of shire councils since 1995 and the SIMS would be a good tool for them.

Other potential customers for the SIMS include schools, catchment groups and industry groups concerned with water quality.

“Stormwater quality will ultimately affect the quality of Perth’s rivers,” Ms Mullan said.

Mr Maxwell said, to the best of his knowledge, there was no baseline data of stormwater quality testing around Perth.

“The idea is to provide a standard so anomalies can be picked up,” he said.

WA Catchment Management Services environmental manager David Thomas has been collecting stormwater quality data from Perth’s main drains for the past three years.

Mr Thomas said the last time the WA Government tested water quality at all the main storm drains, it cost $40,000.

He said the samples collected were tested by National Associa-tion of Testing Authority certified laboratories.

Such data will stand up to the scrutiny of a court of law.

“There is an educational component to this as well,” Mr Thomas said.

“Schools that are doing water testing as part of their science courses will also have accurate data to fall back on.”

Mr Thomas said the new service was not expected to replace but rather enhance the work of catchment groups.

The SIMS is expected to be fully operational in April after the another round of water quality analysis is completed.

GOING GREEN: Kim Maxwell (top), Narelle Mullan and David Thomas

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