Updated 13am, Tuesday April 11:
Go slow on reopened roads
Tweed Shire Council is urging community members to slow down on the region’s roads as ongoing flood clean-up work continues and traffic volumes return to normal levels.
Council’s director of engineering David Oxenham said flood debris, slips and mud are being cleared but new hazards are emerging.
The heavy rain has damaged the road surface in many areas which means small pot holes and soft edges can quickly become major unexpected hazards, particularly for motorcycle riders and cyclists,’ he said.
‘Vehicles travelling at speed can cause more damage to the road surface so I urge community members to take care for their own safety and the safety of our road crews who are working long hours to repair the damage.’
Council and its contractors are this week moving their focus from making roads passable and reconnecting isolated communities to starting to restore the roads for safe travel.
The first priority will be to stabilise topside slips, remove rocks and tree debris, clear table drains and any built-up deposits of soil, gravel, shale or bitumen.
Crews also will clean in and around pits, culverts and bridges and record any dangerous slips.
The roads to be worked on first include: Urliup, Hogans, Mt Warning, Tomewin and Garden of Eden, Tyalgum and Tyalgum Creek, Numinbah, Kyogle, Clothiers Creek, Stokers, Reserve Creek, Carool, Doon Doon and Commissioners Creek roads.
Manns Road at Rowlands Creek and Lone Pine Road at Commissioners Creek remain closed.
Council urges all motorists to be prepared for workers on roads throughout the shire and to take extreme care as the soils remain saturated and new landslips cannot be ruled out.
Residents can get the latest information on the road network via www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/RoadWorks. The information also is available on www.MyRoadInfo.com.au, together with information from neighbouring shires.
Monday, April 10: Tweed council road crews have worked through the weekend to continue the process of reopening flood affected roads.
As of late Friday, Mt Warning Road has reopened through to the National Park; Clothiers Creek Road, between Norths Road and Condor Place, has a four-tonne weight limit and is closed to buses and heavy vehicles; both Piggabeen Road Bridge No 155 and Cedar Creek Bridge are now trafficable; and, Palmvale Road is now trafficable with the temporary diversion around the culvert worksite restored.
Emergency repairs continued on Urliup Road and Rowlands Creek Road throughout the weekend. Work also continued on Booka, Porters, Tomewin and Garden of Eden roads to reach isolated communities.
Council says investigations will start soon on how to restore temporary access across Byrrill Creek, where the bridge was washed away. To get any temporary bridge in will take at least four weeks and work will not be able to start until we can get heavy machinery safely across Tyalgum Road.
Council also is investigating options to divert traffic around the 60-metre missing section of Manns Road.
While some roads and bridges have been reopened, Council urges all motorists to take extreme care on all roads as the soils remain saturated and a new landslip could be around the next corner.
Mobile service centre in Tweed
The Australian Government’s Mobile Service Centre is visiting rural towns in the Tweed this week providing face-to-face information and support to assist in the flood recovery process.
The Mobile Service Centre staff can help community members to access federal government disaster recovery payments and the disaster recovery allowance.
Residents can also find out about Australian Government payments and services for rural families, older Australians, students, job seekers, people with disability, carers, farmers and self-employed people.
A social worker will be on board to provide further information and support resources while an Australian Taxation Office representative will be available to assist with advice about tax and superannuation.
Locations & times
Condong: Monday, April 10, next to Bowls Club car park, McLeod Street, 9am – 4pm.
Tumbulgum: Tuesday, April 11, opposite Tumbulgum Tavern, Riverside Drive, 9am – 4pm.
Chinderah: Wednesday, April 12, near Chinderah Tavern, Cinderah Bay Drive, 9am – 4pm
For more information, go to humanservices.gov.au and search for Mobile Service Centre or call 132 316.
Tumbulgum sewer okay to use
Council workers have been monitoring the vacuum sewerage system in Tumbulgum over the weekend to keep it online despite minor outages.
Water and wastewater manager Anthony Burnham said getting the vacuum sewer system back online in Tumbulgum ‘has proved very challenging due to the technology being so fine-tuned and difficulties in crews and the vacuum truck gaining access to backyard sewer pots behind the kerbside piles of flood debris and traffic congestion.’
‘Workers have had to clear valves and then, hours later, return to clear and clean them again.
Mr Burnham said vacuum systems are different to all other gravity sewer systems and are harder to manage.
‘They operate on a series of pots fitted with vacuum valves. When the wastewater in the pot reaches a certain level, the valve opens and the vacuum removes the waste,’ he said.
Until the ground dries out and the situation stabilises at Tumbulgum, residents can expect a high council presence as the clearing and cleaning of valves will continue for some time.
The council also asks any property owner affected by floodwaters and now needing to call a plumber to unblock their pipes to get the plumber to contact Council so the blockage is removed and not drawn into the vacuum line.
Plumbers should call operations coordinator Chris O’Dwyer on 0408 161 300.
Original report: The massive clean-up operation following the floods is well underway with Tweed Shire Council staff working alongside local contractors to clear debris.
Heavy equipment is being used to clear rubbish from kerbsides in flood affected areas in South Murwillumbah, Condong, Tumbulgum, Chinderah, Fingal and South Tweed Heads with residents continuing to assess the damage caused across the Tweed by the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
Council’s waste services coordinator Rod Dawson, who is overseeing the clean-up, said people need to steer clear and allow workers to get on with the job.
‘We are working as quickly as we can but people need to appreciate this is a huge job. The last thing we want is for anyone to create a safety issue at this time for themselves or our staff,’ he said.
Skips & kerbside cleanups
Mr Dawson said skips are being placed in many of the hard-hit areas for disposal are being filled and taken away every couple of hours. He issued a reminder that these skips were to be used for general flood debris only and should not be used to dispose of paints, oils, batteries and asbestos.
‘Residents are also able to transport materials to the Stotts Creek Resource Recovery Centre free of charge until Sunday 16 April,’ he said.
‘If people have a smaller amount of waste to dispose of keep in mind we have a kerbside collection starting in about three weeks.
‘If it is convenient to wait until the kerbside clean-up or to take the material to the landfill yourself, it would take a lot of pressure off the crews working so hard at the moment to clear debris.’
As part of the flood clean-up, six rear-loading waste disposal trucks scheduled to assist with the kerbside collection have been fast tracked to arrive from Melbourne and Dubbo this week.
Regular garbage collections
In the meantime, regular household waste collection services are continuing as per usual wherever roads are accessible.
‘People whose bins were not collected last week due to the floods will be collected at their next regular service day. Please put as much as possible in the red bin this week and we will also collect any bags of rubbish which are put out at the same time,’ said Mr Dawson.
‘Where bins were lost or damaged in the floods we need to know about it as soon as possible so we can arrange for a replacement, which of course carries no charge.
‘People who lost bins can also put their rubbish out in bags, preferably a strong bin liner, while recyclables should be put out in a cardboard box.
‘We have a number of bins in reserve and we will meet the demand as quickly as possible.’
People who are on roads which have been determined to be inaccessible are encouraged to call Council on (02) 6670 2400 for waste disposal advice.
Hot showers & toilets
Hot showers and toilets at Tweed regional aquatic centre (TRAC) pools will remain open to the community for use free of charge.
Facilities at Murwillumbah, Kingscliff and South Tweed Heads were opened to residents in need of hot showers who were unable to return to their homes and TRAC Supervisor Glenn Nott said this service would continue until further notice.
‘We do understand however that some people may be in difficult positions and we will do what we can to help for however long is required,’ he continued.
Anyone who has missed learn-to-swim classes or other lessons due to the floods will be fully compensated.
For information on TARC opening hours visit their website.
Tumbulgum sewerage service
Tweed Shire Council has five crews on the ground attempting to clean and restore sewerage services to all of Tumbulgum.
Waste clean-up efforts at Tumbulgum are progressing well with significant resources on the ground, however sewer repairs are proving difficult as Council needs to access properties to check sewer pots in backyards to clear the vacuum sewer system.
Sightseers stay away
Sightseer traffic is hampering the restoration process so Council today will limit Riverside Drive to emergency services vehicles and local traffic only to try to get the clean-up and sewer restoration process more efficient.
‘Restoring the remaining services at Tumbulgum is a priority for Council, our crews are working long hours and in very difficult conditions to restore this vacuum sewer system and we urge community members to let our workers on the ground focus on this critical task,’ said Manager Water and Wastewater Anthony Burnham.
‘We accept that residents are seeking information about where the recovery process is up to and if they have any queries we ask that they phone Council’s Customer Contact Centre on (02) 6670 2400.’
Council Health Officers will be inspecting Tumbulgum today to assess the situation.
Council also asks any property owner affected by floodwaters and now calling a plumber to unblock their pipes to get the plumber to contact Council so the blockage is removed and not pushed further down the line.
For further information about Tweed council services including contacts, updates and disaster assistance links visit their website.