Hubble bubble

A couple of days of warm – almost hot – January days have made all the difference to the creek, but not in a good way. Only recently the area around the inspection covers (the metal ones used to take groundwater samples next to the gasworks and fuel depot) were looking bleached and moon-like; now, they’re back to black, tarry normality. They even smell like hot bitumen.

In the gasworks I noticed a phenomenon near the ELGAS plant: sticky tar erupting from soil and oozing out in small puddles. This is on the part of the gasworks near the creek. I’m not sure if it’s related to the recent hot weather or something else, but I do not like it.

(Footnote: I was surprised to see, in this report in the Herald on the Hunter’s pollution hot spots, that the gasworks does not appear on the EPA list.)

A waxing moon has brought the tide up. On Sunday morning it pushed right the way up to the Chatham Road bridge, bringing with it the litter that had been bobbing around the boom by the TAFE. I find litter endlessly fascinating, as much as I loathe it. Sometimes it just looks … pretty.

I tried to get a pic of the moon rising over the creek on Sunday night but I’m not good enough with the iPhone yet. Old Mate tells me it’d be a good night for prawning. I’ll take his word for it; the world of fishing and the way that seafood appears behind the counter of the Fishermens’ Co-op is a complete mystery to me and always will be.

I’ve been keeping an eye on a section of creek bank near the rail bridge. We had quite a few powerful flushes in the latter half of last year and they’ve taken their toll on the integrity of the concrete at this angled junction. This entire slab is starting to shear away from the vertical.

It mightn’t look much on this photo but you can get your hand in there. There are no reinforcing rods connecting the slab to the upright next to it and so I can see the whole lot wrenching off in the next big one. I’d like to cheer and think that this could be the beginning of naturally battered, grassed bankings but the reality of exposed earth against concrete is rapid erosion, which will probably be countered newer, bigger, harder, stronger slabs.

All this is too negative and I’m not a negative person. So, coming soon: my vision for Styx Creek.


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