21.1 C
Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Is Mullum sewer’s upcoming ‘colonoscopy’ a waste?

Latest News

Police confirm Main Arm drug operation

NSW Police have finally confirmed what pretty much every one in Main Arm already knows – they are conducting drug operations in the north of the Shire.

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 24 February, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Stop motion animators needed

Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina is seeking expressions of interest from suitably experienced digital animators with demonstrated experience...

Police use road spikes to catch speeder

Police say that on Friday at around 10.45pm, they received information that a stolen Hyundai Santa Fe was travelling south of the Pacific Motorway towards the QLD/NSW border.

Elon Musk

David Gilet, Byron Bay Normally I would agree with anything written by Robin Harrison, but I cannot agree with his...

Suffolk pump track

Dr Ray Moynihan, Suffolk Park Thanks to The Echo for ongoing coverage of the debate about the proposed pump track...

Archibald has knock-on effect in Murwillumbah

The Tweed Regional Gallery is hosting the Archibald Prize and local business people say the event is giving the town of Murwillumbah a significant economic boost.

Brunswick Valley Sewerage Treatment Plant. Photo Contoltek Services

Over the next three months, Mullumbimby’s ageing gravity mains sewerage network will be prodded and poked more often than an in-patient at a teaching hospital.

But is the barrage of tests really worthwhile, or will it simply confirm what Council staff and a large proportion of the town already knows – that Mullum’s old gravity mains system is stuffed?

Former local sewage treatment plant operator Alan Dickens thinks so.

‘I don’t know what is to be gained by this,’ Mr Dickens said of the upcoming works.

‘They [already] have telemetry data on pump run hours, pump capacities, rainfall and inflow… so what more will this tell them?’

The test that really gets Mr Dickens’s goat (and the goats of more than a few other locals) is the plan to do another round of in-depth investigation with a camera.

This type of test is somewhat similar to a colonoscopy, with a small camera shoved along the drains to see if there are any obstructions, cracks or other assorted broken bits.

Mr Dickens said a similar test was undertaken in the early 2000s and confirmed, even that far back, that Mullum’s old clay pipes were not in a good way.

‘Those mains were tested with a camera back then and they’ve been smoke tested twice,’ he said, referring to the process of pumping smoke down into the sewerage pipes to identify leaks.

‘Internal reports were submitted at the time [which indicated] that the gravity mains were stuffed. I fail to see the point in camera testing the mains again – it will only show the same thing.’

Along with the camera testing, Byron Shire Council has hired a private company to closely monitor flow through the system using hi-tech sensors and to install a new rain gauge.

There will also be so-called ‘draw down’ testing – another method of determining how much water is flowing into the sewerage system from outside sources such as stormwater.

Council was unable to provide a figure for how much the camera testing would cost and there was no figure in the relevant Council documents to indicate this nor the cost of the tests overall.

While some locals see the testing as throwing good money after bad, others see it as a necessary step toward finally fixing the mains. 

Duncan Dey, a civil engineer specialising in water and a member of Council’s Water, Waste and Sewerage Advisory Committee, said the current state of the mains needed to be confirmed so that funding could be allocated.

‘In terms of the camera testing, it’s been 15 years since that other testing was done. Things may have changed in that time,’ Mr Dey said.

‘In terms of the testing more generally, I think let’s just get it done and then we can take the next step.

‘I’m already convinced that it [the system] is stuffed – it’s a raw fact.

Status needs confirmation

‘But its current state needs to be confirmed otherwise we will never get any funding support from anywhere.

Even for Council to allocate its own internal funding it needs to have up-to-date data.’

Byron Council’s relevant officer is on leave and so no response was provided.


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.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Call to protect oceans from plastic and pollution

A new sign has been installed at Main Beach, Byron Bay, calling for increased awareness and collective action on the issue of marine debris and pollution. 

Pottsville’s controversial Men’s Shed extension to be advertised

The controversial Men’s Shed at Black Rocks Sports Fields in Pottsville was granted the opportunity to expand its footprint 12m to the west at last week’s Tweed Shire Council meeting.

A closer look at Byron Council’s fossil fuel investments

Is Byron Council putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to reducing carbon emissions?

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 24 February, 2021

Entertainment in the Byron Shire and beyond for the week beginning 24 February, 2021