In all probability the wallaby had been floundering for days and was exhausted before it was found in the pond at the former Brunswick Heads Sewage Treatment Plant. It was pulled from the thick mix of effluent and sludge and died five minutes later. Dry weather and consequent thirst had obviously attracted the wallaby from the adjoining nature reserve to this toxic mix. Undoubtedly, other wildlife have suffered the same fate and will continue to do so unless something is done now.
Byron Shire Council’s Water and Waste Operations management should have been well aware of the risks being created in this pond by leaving the effluent in it. A mere four strands of barbed wire fence the perimeter, hardly a deterrent to thirsty wildlife or wandering children from the adjoining sports fields.
The solution, which needs to be immediately acted upon, given that the STP stopped operating about 12 months ago, would be to remove the sludge by pumping it into Council’s mobile pumpout tanker and taking it to Ocean Shores STP for appropriate treatment.
So simple, but it raises the question as to how effective is BSC’s risk management policy and was it applied before the Brunswick STP was taken offline?