17.6 C
Byron Shire
March 24, 2023

Nothing clear or transparent about Mullum’s sewage system

Latest News

Political Cosplay for Fun and Profit

Costume play is not just for Trekkies and Disney fans. If you want to get anywhere in Australian politics, cosplay needs to become a vital part of your skillset.

Other News

Ballina independent booed over domestic violence survivor-blaming

The independent candidate for the seat of Ballina has attracted condemnation for comments he made over domestic violence at a public forum last week.

Mediation fails over large Suffolk Park DA

The battle over a controversial mixed-used development proposed for the main street of Suffolk Park looks set to go to a full hearing in the Land and Environment Court with Byron Shire Council, after the court-ordered conciliation process failed.

Big scores and tight bowling determine this season’s cricket grand finalists

Greg Trevena  Byron Bay cricketers won their third-grade semi-final against Bangalow on the back of a century to Matt Larsson...

A bonanza for developers and land bankers?

The NSW Planning Rezoning Pathways Program will service the current agendas of developers and land bankers throughout Tweed Shire, particularly the State Significant Farmlands of Cudgen Plateau.

Janelle’s four year road to the 2023 vote

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Janelle Saffin's win in the seat of Lismore and with not a minute to celebrate, Saffin spoke to The Echo about the 2023 campaign.

Flood-affected still without assistance

Over a year has passed since the devastating February 2022 floods, but many residents of the Northern Rivers have not received the support to retrofit, raise or buyback their homes, as pledged to them by the federal and state governments.

Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads.

‘Clear and transparent’. These were the words put forward by the Byron Council’s citizens jury, – words that the community should expect our Council to practise.

Unfortunately at the first hurdle they’ve fallen. On 31 May the Waste Water Advisory Committee (WWAC) was asked to consider a Low Pressure Sewer Pump System (LPSPS) trial in Mullumbimby; this involved a line of 20 to 30 houses.

The WWAC asked for a consultant to be brought in to compare the LPSPS with a vacuum system and the findings to be presented to the next WWAC meeting.

Tuesday week ago the head design engineer and the co-ordinator of W&R met with an expert on vacuum systems from Flovac, discussion was held on extending the Byron industrial estate vacuum system with no mention of Mullumbimby. Somehow the recommendation and minutes now merely ask councillors to approve the LPSPS trial.

So the councillors understand what they’ve approved. The LPSPS involves a pod located on the person’s property that holds raw sewerage, plus the installation of a power board that is connected to the household power supply.

In 2010 this system was costed at $19,000 per property in Mullumbimby. This trial has been explained as being a means to identify the worst areas of infiltration in Mullumbimby.

I have spoken to several hydraulic engineers who fail to understand how installing 30 LPPs will give indication of infiltration as there is nothing to cross reference it against.

I don’t believe this is a trial. W&R will claim the trial is successful and continue installing a LPSPS in Mullumbimby. Does any councillor believe once this LPSPS is in place it will be removed?

Councillors, it makes absolute sense to have a consultant come in and supply an independent report on the most cost-effective, most unobtrusive and efficient system for Mullumbimby.

Councillors should pass a rescission motion and prevent this costly trial until what was agreed to happens: a comparison of two systems is investigated and the results presented to the WWAC for their recommendation to Council.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. 1. Support for a low pressure pump system (LPPS) should not proceed until there is a comparative cost/benefit analysis with a vacuum system
    (a) Cr Simon Richardson has indicated to a community member that he is of the opinion that the latter is not only cheaper but more reliable.
    (b) A former Councillor and now a member of the Waste Water Advisory Committee said directly to me that his support for the LPPS was based on the fact that ‘at least staff are doing something”. I do not believe that to be representing any sound reasoning but rather frustration at the scale of the infiltration problem known for decades to exist in the Mullumbimby reticulation system

    2. The Utilities Manager has failed to provide evidence, as at 14.12.17 in answer to a Question on Notice, of any follow up inspection reports on faulty/illegal connections or action taken on non-compliance. This project cost the ratepayers $1.5m. The failure to meet the project’s mission is in the Mullumbimby Sewerage System Inflow and Infiltration Programme Final Project Review June 2010 page 14 wherein it is stated that 704 properties were inspected, 321 were defective, 239 have been repaired, 34 repairs are in progress and 48 had no response (15%).

    In the same report it is stated, “The retrofitting of a Low Pressure uPmping System (LPPS) to the Mullumbimby sewerage reticulation system would have a high capital cost and will not eliminate stormwater inflow and infiltration because defects in the upstream private sewers will continue to be a problem and source of stormwater ingress. For these reasons and given the capacity of the BASAS, implementation of a LPPS is not recommended.” At this stage, Council’s documents indicate support for leaving the condition of the gravity mains in their current condition.

    Trialling a LPPS has no credibility given the 30.9.10 final report wherein at page 4 it is stated that experience with one property where a LPPS was installed, indicated wet weather flows were up to 20 times the dry weather flow due to stormwater ingress through defects in the upstream private sewers on the property.

    3. The New Brighton Sewerage Strategy did a comparative analysis of gravity, vacuum, LPPS and no change to the septic systems or their equivalent. The report recommended a vacuum system. For some peculiar reason a LPPS was installed. I am unaware of any information on the operational and electricity costs of that system to date. I am aware that (a) property owners have been unaware of electricity charges being connected to their power bills and (b) a number of pumps have had to be replaced within what would otherwise be considered their life expectancy.

    The Shire’s ratepayers are deserving, at least, of a comparable study on LPPS and vacuum system!!!!

    Reply, Reply all or Forward


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Nationals and Labor didn’t sign Clarence anti-mining pledge

The Clarence Catchment Alliance (CCA) have been seeking the support of all candidates running for the seat of Clarence to physically or digitally sign...

Not a ‘bonanza for developers and land bankers’ as local councils lose planning controls?

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment were quick to respond to the article ‘A bonanza for developers and land bankers?’ published on 21 March 2023 on The Echo online ‘to correct the inaccuracies contained in your article’.

Janelle’s four year road to the 2023 vote

Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Janelle Saffin's win in the seat of Lismore and with not a minute to celebrate, Saffin spoke to The Echo about the 2023 campaign.

Appeal to locate woman missing from Tweed Heads

Police are appealing for public assistance to locate a woman, Kara Symington, missing from Tweed Heads since Tuesday.