Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads.
Thank you, councillor Basil Cameron, for organising the information session on the inflow/infiltration issue in Mullumbimby and the strategy the current council have adopted. This gave people the opportunity to voice their opinions and experiences concerning the Mullumbimby gravity sewer mains.
It was disappointing that only one member of the Waste Water Sewer Advisory Committee (WWSAC) attended.
It was bemusing that the handout basically revisited the 2006 methodology supplied by then-director of water and recycling; again blaming faulty and illegal house connections for the infiltration problem.
For the record the WWSAC was supplied with a spreadsheet in 2018 outlining all the identified faulty house connections. This included the 740 houses in Mullumbimby where repairs had been carried out.
The print did not mention the condition of the sewer gravity mains or that this may be the source of the infiltration problem.
I asked about videoing the gravity mains to assure us that they are not in a state of disrepair. The council staffer, Jason Stanley, reluctantly said they may video the sewer gravity mains in March 2019.
This is illogical. I believe the right approach would be to determine that the system conveying the sewage is in a fit state before commencing any other investigation – at substantial cost to ratepayers.
Mr Stanley also informed the people who attended the meeting that water and recycling (W&R) had been authorised, on the recommendation of the WWSAC; they have $2.5m to spend investigating the infiltration problem over five years.
A resident was told there are six maintenance staff to maintain the stormwater and sewer system. The director of infrastructure must believe in miracles if they think only six people can maintain Byron’s system.
Mullumbimby residents are being blamed for this infiltration problem again. Not the earthenware gravity mains system that was laid in 1963 in clay up to six metres deep. Well-respected design engineers will tell you that the longevity of those mains is approximately 26 years. After that the system will start to structurally break down.
Why are the elected council funding a five-year investigation of the surface water without having any evidence that these old earthenware mains are still sound?