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Byron Shire
August 9, 2022

What is Byron sewerage plant’s capacity?

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Byron Shire Council’s infrastructure services director Phil Holloway’s statement that, ‘when online the  hospital development will use less than one per cent of the Byron Bay STP capacity,‘ is to imply that the West Byron STP is working within it’s design capacity now.
West Byron STP was augmented in 2005 to process waste for six thousand people (i.e. 6,000EP). The new plant is seen as providing state of the art treatment process. These plants work extremely well but do not like to be hydraulically overloaded.
These type of plants will start breaking down if they are hydraulically overloaded.  Usually the first signs of overloading is when the plant starts showing high ammonia levels obnoxious odours i.e. Bio Solids.
Mr Holloway’s statement runs the high risk of being misleading unless process monitoring results are supplied on the treatment process at West Byron STP from inflow through to outflow.  This would cover the whole treatment process.  This monitoring is different from  that required to simply satisfy EPA license requirements because the EPA only requires monitoring at an end point.The EPA license monitoring point is so far removed from  where the actual treatment process takes place that it tells nothing of how the plant is coping hydraulically or organically
Mr Holloway’s position also fails to include the approved West Byron development and the impact that will have on West Byron STP.
In the 1990’s we had six overloaded STP’s. Now we have four improved models but we the lack  information as to how these plants are actually performing.  It is totally misleading to argue that EPA monitoring tells how the treatment process is performing.
In 2005, BSC was made to have Waste Water Steering Committees formed  to represent our STP catchment communities.  These committees had to be provided with information in order to allow them to evaluate how the plants were performing  They were disbanded by the then BSC director of water and recycling.  These committee were meant to be ongoing  Thus the community has lost the advantage of monitoring the performance of these plants.
BSC should implement waste water steering committees again these committees were meant to remain in place to monitor performance and ensure plants were always kept in front of load requirements.
Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads


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