HUNDREDS, potentially thousands, of litres of water gushed onto Ellem Oval on Monday afternoon after a gasket in the field's irrigation system gave way.

The dramatic fountain was photographed by Daily Examiner chief photographer Adam Hourigan, who happened to be on site to snap young Aussie rules talent Hamish Ellem for today's back page.

Hourigan said he notified Clarence Valley Council, grabbed some photos and video footage and left the scene within 10 min- utes.

CVC manager of Environment and Open Spaces Peter Birch said council staff arrived on the scene about 20 minutes after receiving the report and fixed the problem within about half an hour.

Though he could not estimate how much water was lost, he said the spill was mostly contained to the oval area and available for take up by turf.

Mr Birch explained a gasket on a flanged plate that is used to remove a screen from the filter gave way, causing the water break.

The screen filter, he said, removed any likely small particulate matter from the supply before it was distributed through the irrigation system and sprinkler heads.

"This type of incident with an irrigation control filter rarely happens," Mr Birch said.

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