No more fences, no more leaks – Tamworth's ponds now fully sustainable

A $200,000 facelift of the two eastern ponds in Tamworth’s Bicentennial Park is complete and open for the public to enjoy.

The makeover wasn’t only cosmetic: a new geosynthetic and clay liner has put an end to the water leaks from the ponds.

A bore was also sunk and equipped during the work and filler lines were created in each pond for future water top-ups, to ensure that drinking water would no longer be used to fill them.

Tamworth Regional Council project and assets officer Grant Reeckmann said not only do the ponds look more attractive, they were now more environmentally sustainable.

“A water efficiency audit revealed the ponds were leaking, making frequent water top-ups from town water necessary,” he said.

“Now this major project is complete, there will be considerable water savings by stopping the leaks – and the reduced water costs will actually mean the work will pay for itself in about two years.”

The first stage of the project started in March this year when the ponds – one next to the Tamworth Light Horse Memorial and the larger one near the White St car park – were drained and left to dry out.

Kelly Covey Group was commissioned to undertake surveys of the ponds and design the reconstruction of the ponds, taking liner options, long-term water quality management, public safety options and project costs into consideration.

In August, earthworks started on removing excess organic material and silty clays from the base of the ponds.

The base of each was reshaped and the depth increased from between 600mm and 1000mm to a maximum of 1.8 metres.

A geosynthetic liner was laid on the base of each pond and a select 300mm layer of clay spread on top to make it impermeable.

The ponds were then landscaped with native gardens established along the edges. A new picnic shelter structure was erected overlooking the larger pond, pathways were reconstructed around the main pond while edge paving and a rosemary garden were constructed adjacent to the Light Horse Memorial pond and park lightpoles and seats were repainted.

Mr Reeckmann said choosing a minimum depth of 1.8 metres for the ponds would help stop the growth of floating water plants (macrophytes), including invasive floating weed species, while still allowing light penetration.

“A depth of 1.8m also allows settling of sediment and organic matter, reducing long-term clean-out maintenance,” he said.

“The design chosen for the reconstruction included the introduction of a sloping batter to the ponds, rather than the existing vertical drop, and increasing the amount of rock edging around each pond.”

To manage safety, Mr Reeckman said signs had been installed adjacent to the pond zones.

The project was the first major work on the ponds since they were built in the 1980s and 1990s. The pond near the White St car  park was part of the original park plan completed in 1988 while the other smaller pond was built in the mid-1990s.

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