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Byron Shire
July 1, 2022

Council’s STP answers inadequate

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Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads

Byron Shire Council’s response to the problem of tertiary pond and the death of a wallaby at the decommissioned Brunswick Heads sewerage treatment plant (STP) deflected addressing the issue to the generics of managing water bodies on Council’s controlled properties. Consequently the same hazard continues to exist. It has also recently come to light that only for the quick action of a young boy was he able to rescue his dog from the sludge. By the time he saw his pet only its nose had been visible!

Council’s failure to act reflects poorly on it. Ratepayers have already paid for the equipment to address the problem. Over $1m has been spent on a sludge-drying belt press and the purchase of a mobile tanker to transfer sludge to the belt press located at Ocean Shores STP.

And there is a matter of the integrity of Council’s written response. The perimeter chain wire fence around the STP was allegedly inspected by Council staff following publication of the letter in Echonetdaily. Minor repairs were stated to have been carried out. Subsequent inspection on 11.11.12 of the western side of that fence found at least three rusted holes each big enough for wildlife, pet animals or a young person to access the grounds of the STP.

Separate from the hazardous tertiary pond and its sludge are the uncovered structures that are within the grounds of the STP. These are visible from the perimeter fence. They have been left open and would be collecting rain water. For safety reasons they need to be covered to prevent any life form falling in. Thus, two identified problems exist at Brunswick Heads STP. Each could be easily solved. It now raises the question as to the state of the tertiary ponds and similar structures at the decommissioned South Byron and Mullumbimby STPs.

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