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Byron Shire
May 14, 2021

Was septic waste dumped on roadside in Broken Head?

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Truck seen dumping waste on Taylors Lake Road, Broken Head. Photo supplied.

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.

The result of the dump in the bush. Photo supplied.

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

Clarence Valley Septic sent in to clean up. Photo supplied.

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’.

Biodiversity hot-spot

‘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.’

Council responds

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.’

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  1. There’s a lawlessness developing with people doing what they want and stuff the consequences. Just recently a QLD pest control operation was seen down my dead end dirt road filling up there enormous water tank directly from the creek where platypus live! When I questioned them they got a bit threatening and said they’d been doing it for 20 years and ‘bugger off’.

  2. The truck pictured doing the alleged dumping and the one sent in to clean up, described as from Clarence Valley Septic, appear to be the same truck.

  3. Just about everyone carries a smart phone now, so photographic evidence of lawless activities can encourage Council take notice and act. Take photos and email to Council and Councillors Most good Councillors will take action. Not safe you speaking to the law breakers – they can get threatening.

  4. Good on you for questioning them. It can be scary when you are by yourself. Hope you got their rego. Need a license to pump from creeks. I always take my phone with me on walks now in Byron hinterland because a photo or video of individuals committing an environmental offence is helpful for prosecution purposes.

  5. The illegal dumpers said…it was JUST CLAY? Why they driving so far to dump anything… even if its fairy floss, IT’S ILLEGAL, GUYS! and… of course we just don’t believe you. You are evil for doing this. Shame on this company and it should be made widely known that this company does not do the right thing!

    Can’t the Echo have a “Name and Shame” list of all the baddies around the shire? These guys should be on it if they’re doing this kind of thing.

    Are they too cheap to pay dumping fees? or just downright uncaring creeps who don’t give a stuff?


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