Tweed Shire Council is warning residents to avoid contact with parts of the Terranora Broadwater, Cobaki Broadwater and Terranora Creek following a discharge of raw sewage in the Terranora Inlet, following an incident at the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant last week.
The affected area is above Boyds Bay Bridge.
Oyster harvesting in the Terranora Inlet has been postponed for at least a fortnight following the discharge.
The council announced on Thursday (November 9) that a large volume of raw wastewater had bypassed from the inlet works of the plant to the final holding lagoon within the plant without treatment.
In the final holding lagoon it was diluted with treated wastewater, a portion of which was then discharged into the Terranora Inlet at the Navy Base on Dry Dock Road through the licenced discharge point for the plant.
Initial testing of water around the point of discharge showed higher than normal levels of e-coli.
The council announced on Monday (November 13) that while test results had returned to ‘acceptable levels’ it was maintaining its recommendation to avoid contact with the water in those areas for the time being.
Testing of the effluent discharge at the weekend confirmed that the levels of thermotolerant (faecal) coliforms in the discharge again were within normal range but the alert will remain in place for at least another 24 hours.
‘Our staff have worked throughout the weekend to quickly contain this situation,’ said engineering director David Oxenham.
‘Currently we are bypassing the final effluent lagoon at the Banora Point Wastewater Treatment Plant and it may take several days before the plant is back to normal operation.’
Last week a large volume of raw wastewater bypassed from the inlet works of the plant and went direct to the lagoon without being treated. While it was diluted with the treated wastewater in the lagoon, a portion of this diluted wastewater was discharged into the Terranora Inlet at the licensed discharge point at the Navy Base on Dry Dock Road.
‘The risk to human and aquatic health within the estuary is very low but we are maintaining the alert for another 24 hours to allow further improvement,’ Mr Oxenham said.