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Byron Shire
April 1, 2023

Push to send treated water to Lismore Lake

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A black-Necked Stork photographed at Lismore Lake. (birdsinbackyards.net)
A black-Necked Stork photographed at Lismore Lake. (birdsinbackyards.net)

A Lismore City councillor wants to send treated water from the South Lismore Sewerage Plant to Lismore Lake to help maintain the area as a bird sanctuary.

Cr Bill Moorhouse has lodged a notice of motion asking that the ‘council investigate methods of recreating water levels in the Lismore Lake that replicate the impact of the 2017 flood’.

‘A visit to the Lismore Lake shows it is covered in birds and clearly has become valuable habitat for aquatic birds and wildlife,’ Cr Moorhouse said.

He suggests the lake could be topped up with water from the river, although a pump licence would have to be renewed, or divert water from the South Lismore Treatment Plant, which is currently discharged into the river.

‘I believe the diversion of treated sewerage water is the most viable long term option,’ Cr Moorhouse said.

‘Some years ago a pipeline and pumps were installed at the sewerage treatment works which allowed water to be pumped down toward the airport to irrigate a tee tree farm.

‘I understand that the pipe line still exists and could reasonably be extended to the lake.

‘Given that Council is now carrying out a major upgrade of the Sewerage Treatment Plant it is important that the current work is compatible with the objective of pumping treated water to the lake, hopefully any modifications to allow this to happen can be include as part of the current upgrade works.’


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  1. Quite a good idea Cr Bill Moorhouse.
    I compliment your lateral and innovative thinking ,the Lismore Council could certainly benefit from more of the same. However, as no doubt you have been made aware , the water you are talking about is by no-means clean enough for use in such a fragile site. Apart from the huge amounts of pesticides ,herbicides and industrial chemicals that remain in this effluent, there are the high levels of birth-control hormones ,drugs and Hormone mimicking household products that would render the site unsuitable as a breeding area. The river water would be, to some degree, more suitable.
    Another possibility, would be to reverse the draining of Tuki Tuki swamp and restore a valuable environmental asset ,while preventing thousands of tons of sulphuric acid draining into Ballina.

  2. An excellent idea! Having visited the lake for the first time recently , and seen the hundreds of Whistling Tree Ducks and a Royal Spoonbill along with many other water fowl, I strongly support the idea.
    The treatment processes should render the water safe and odourless.
    I know nothing about the existing pipeline mentioned, but hopefully it will be large enough to supply enough water to maintain the lake in hot summers.

  3. What a great idea Bill. When I raised the issue years ago when on Council it was quashed by staff on the basis that the treated water wouldn’t be good enough – yet it flows into the river?

    My later attempts were kboshed by other staff on the basis that the lake would be used for carbon off-sets!!

    I sincerely hope you can get this through and push for the existing Plan of Management for the Lake (which will be sitting somewhere on a shelf) because then we might even get the Jacanas back on the lake as well as the wandering whistling ducks, black swans and the many other water bird varieties that made this small lake a wonderful refuge and a delight for those who value our wildlife. Molly Crawford would be proud of you. Go for it Bill!


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