The letter from Alan Dickens, Sewage overload, is a timely warning that all has not been well in Byron’s sewage management for a long time. As a councillor-member of the sewage and wastewater committee for many years I can endorse Alan Dickens’s claims.
We knew the Mullumbimby sewer mains were polluting the river and were in urgent need of replacement but we did not have the money. Some token repairs to pipes were made and a few residents were forced to repair faulty drains. This had no appreciable effect on overflow.
The new Vallances Road STP gave the opportunity for bigger pumps, which moved the problem from the river to Vallances Road and reduced pump hours. STPs have a limited capacity to handle water and overload results in partial failure like the reports of noxious sludge being produced.
Also, despite claims of available capacity at the West Byron works, there continues to be excess outflow onto farmland and the estuary as well as reports of operational problems with internal processing.
Most councillors could not tell activated sludge from porridge and are happy to accept staff assurances as long as it suits their agenda but it is highly unlikely that the big developments along Ewingsdale Road can be safely accommodated.
Tom Tabart, Bangalow