Local residents of Broken Head were shocked and appalled on their walk down Taylors Lake Road in Broken Head when they saw a septic removal truck emptying its load off the side of the road down the hillside.
‘I’m just in shock,’ said the local resident.
‘There were two decent sized blokes there. We just walked past but it was clear what it was, there was still shit flooding out the back. This is just above the ti-tree lakes, the next rain it will go straight into the lakes.’
When they had got a little further down the road the residents took a photo of the Clarence Valley Septic removal truck in action and immediately reported it to Byron Shire Council.
The location is on the north-east corner of the intersection of Broken Head Reserve Road and Taylors Road.
‘This area is very precious and where they were dumping is only 2–300m from the Broken Head Pavilions,’ they said.
A crime says ex-mayor
Local resident and ex-Byron Shire mayor Jan Barham is calling the council to prosecute the operators for the dumping of waste.
‘It is abhorrent,’ she said.
‘It was dumped on private land. Where they have dumped leads to the ti-tree lakes. This area is well vegetated and it is adjacent to 7a wetland area and in the catchment of the Ti-Tree Lake, a dedicated Aboriginal Place,’ Jan explained
Council quick to respond
Council officers were quick to respond to the residents’ report and were at the scene by early afternoon taking samples of the waste and speaking to the owner of Clarence Valley Septic, locals reported.
By 7pm yesterday evening Council had arranged for the site to be cleared by removing the waste that had been dumped.
According to residents the contractors have told the council that the material they illegally dumped was clay.
‘There was a very faint smell of septic when I came to the site but the locals who walked past when the material was being dumped said it was much stronger earlier,’ said Jan.
Byron council workers have taken samples of the dumped material and are waiting on the results to determine if the dumped material was contaminated.
Clarence Valley Septics manager Michael Barnes has told Echonetdaily that ‘it wasn’t septic waste’.
‘For 25 years we have been working to ensure the quarry doesn’t impact on the ti-tree lakes,’ said Jan.
‘We have been putting up signage throughout this area identifying it as a biodiversity hot-spot of high ecological importance.’
Jan highlighted that significant parts of the Broken Head area have been identified for e-zoning due to its high ecological value for both plants and animals.
‘What is in people’s heads to be doing this?’ she said.
‘Dumping is a crime and I will be calling on council to prosecute to make it clear to operators that this type of operation won’t be tolerated.’
According to a Byron Shire Council spokesperson, ‘Businesses that collect and dispose of septic waste need to be licenced by the NSW Environment Protection Authority and have Trade Waste approval with Council.
‘In Byron Shire there are currently three businesses that are approved to take septic waste to the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant – Motion Movers, Summerland Environmental and Ballina Pumping Service.’