Council answers on sewage beg more questions

In Echo 24 February, Byron Shire Councils’ utilities manager Peter Rees states ‘In 2015 council completed an independent capacity assessment of Byron Bay Sewage Treatment plant’.

Mr Rees was employed as operations manager of water and recycling in 2001.

The question is how does council complete an independent study or does Mr Rees mean a consultant was commissioned to do the study and if so who was the consulting company and has this report been supplied to the Catchment Committee?

Mr Rees also states the plant is running at 72 per cent capacity and could take another 4,000 houses and that an upgrade would be required in 2025 does the independent study advise this?

Byron STW was augmented in 2005 with a design concept for 6,000 EP.

The question is, was the impact of the thousands of tourists, including those who concentrate during festival events that arrive in Byron included in this independent study?.

Mr Rees also talks about reuse of effluent from Byron STW Wetlands to parks etc. It amazes me that at no stage has there been any discussion on dual plumbing for future subdivisions. This is where the majority of reuse water could be going.

Reuse was raised at the Byron Wastewater Steering Committee in 2005. It makes you wonder how long it takes for BSC to put something positive into place.

Mr Rees also talks about the 24-hectare melaleuca plantation. What data has been gathered on the effect the melaleucas have had on acid sulphate soil levels in that area and what data has been supplied to the Catchment Committee on this?

Mr Rees fails to mention the hydraulic impact of the original wetlands on the two adjoining farms and the greater hydraulic impact the wetlands have had on these same farms since the wetlands were augmented in 2006.

Mr Rees was part of the design concept meetings that were held prior to the augmentation of West Byron STW. He then managed the augmentation of the  wetlands.  Was any consideration given to the impact of the expanded wetlands on these two farms and the legal implications that council could be facing by allowing effluent to continue to encroach onto them?

Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads


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