Questions are being asked about Byron’s award-winning sewage treatment plant after a manhole collapse in town last week resulted in two sewage spills during the busy holiday season.
Following questions put to Byron Shire Council by Echonetdaily, its infrastructure services director, Phil Holloway, said the problems stemmed from a collapsed manhole located near the pumping station at the corner of Old Bangalow Road and Bangalow Road.
‘As a result, the waste was required to be pumped out and pipes temporarily diverted into the well of the pumping station,’ Mr Holloway said.
‘The collapsed manhole was cleared last week and is currently being repaired,’ he added.
But it was only following subsequent questioning that Mr Holloway admitted there had been a sewage spill.
‘The sewerage manhole collapse did result in sewage overflow at two sites close by the pumping station,’ he said.
Mr Holloway added that upon being alerted to these overflows, ‘operational staff immediately attended the sites and remained for several hours cleaning and disinfecting.’
‘Council apologises for any inconvenience caused by the unplanned works that required immediate attention,’ he said.
Echonetdaily was first alerted to the spill by a reader, who lives nearby.
‘The pumping station opposite the Roadhouse collapsed a couple of days ago and they have had trucks shipping sewage away,’ the resident wrote.
‘They have been working through the nights to fix it. The sub station has not been coping.
‘Outside was really smelly and probably a heath hazard.
‘If this can’t cope then how is West Byron going to without the infrastructure? A lot of money needs to be spent in Byron – and where is this money coming from?
‘Maybe the minister needs to know as the council and the developers are not going to say anything,’ the resident wrote.
Byron Resident Group spokesperson Cate Coorey agreed the accident had implications for the town’s infrastructure if the West Byron development were to go ahead.
‘We have been trying to get answers from council about the sewage treatment plant for a while but they can’t manage to supply the data. Their incompetence would be funny if it wasn’t so serious,’ she said.
‘This is a major issue for the town and of course West Byron,’ she added.
Despite the public concern, Byron Shire Council did not issue a media release about the matter but only responded to specific questions put to it by Echonetdaily.