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Byron Shire
August 15, 2022

Byron’s sewerage system not flushed with success

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Tom Tabart, Bangalow

In reference to Alan Dicken’s letter Time to investigate Byron’s failing sewerage plants.

I was a councillor and a member of the Water and Recycling Committee at the time of the smoke testing and reports mentioned – what Alan states is correct.

In an organisation with the responsibilities and budget of Byron Council most would assume that there is a system of checks and balances which would monitor current proposals in the context of past works and reports. Unfortunately this aspect of governance either does not exist, is faulty or, I suspect, is suppressed. This allows old work to be recycled whenever it is convenient and there has been enough turnover of personnel to dim the corporate memory.

The problems of infiltration from the Mullumbimby sewerage system, the consequent overloading of the Brunswick Valley STP and the mysterious quality problems and disposal of treated effluent have been canvassed many times to no avail. Some have an interest in non-disclosure others simply do not want to know. Proposing to redo old works is an illusion of activity and a cover for poor management. And it doesn’t come cheap.

The financial and operational record of this department should be the subject of an internal audit or an independent investigation – but I won’t hold my breath.

This is not the only ticking toilet (sorry) in this area and I can see another sewage moratorium looming as West Byron, the hospital and more tourists take up the reduced capacity.

With a new council and a new committee perhaps the problems will finally be addressed.

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