Repairs will be carried out today (Monday) on a sewer pipeline in Tweed Heads West accidentally damaged during maintenance work on Friday afternoon which caused raw sewage to be spilled into a canal alongside a residential estate.
Tweed Shire Council acted quickly to notify residents and operators of nearby oyster farms of the potential danger, warning them to avoid contact with water in the canal that runs parallel to Jacaranda Drive until further notice.
The private contractor, who had been boring under the sewerage main at the intersection of Gollan Drive and Lakeside Drive, told council as soon as the incident happened, according to a council spokesperson.
Staff isolated the break and diverted flows through another pipeline to restore flows to the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant, but not before a quantity of raw sewage entered the canal near the Seagulls Estate through the stormwater system.
Council has begun water sampling within the surrounding area to determine the spill’s impact on the canal and the adjacent Terranora Broadwater.
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and operators of nearby oyster farms have been notified and Council will continue to liaise with these groups.
‘No swimming’ signs have been erected along the canal and the shores of the Broadwater in the vicinity of the Seagulls Estate.
Council’s engineering director David Oxenham said people were advised to avoid contact with the water in that area until a further announcement was made by Council to confirm water quality had returned to safe levels.
He said the pipe diversion had restored sewerage services to Tweed Heads West and the priority now was monitoring the effects and keeping the community informed.
Council staff have door-knocked homes adjacent to the canal to inform residents of the incident.