Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads
The results of the investigations into the Mullumbimby sewer and stormwater systems are no surprise to people who worked with, and were paying attention to, what was happening decades ago! Sinkholes appearing after and during rain events, sewer pump run hours doubling during rain and then running twenty-four-seven if the rain continued.
All of this data was recorded daily, manually, on run sheets and handed in each week. I know one engineer took notice and tried to convince senior management, and the elected council, that action had to be taken in the mid-nineties – without success.
You can go back to 1998 when the Brunswick Valley Waste Water Steering Committee ( BVWWSC) was formed as a result of Clause 45 Sewage Moratorium. The members of the BVWWSC continuously raised the evidence of major infiltration problems with the Mullumbimby sewer mains system.
Their consistent reference to the problem went unheeded on the grounds that it was outside the scope of designing a new sewerage treatment system.
In 2004 Byron Shire Council (BSC) created a position called ‘stormwater engineer’ specifically to address stormwater problems and maintain the current system – that was sixteen years ago!
What has been achieved since 2004? And why do we now have a damning report on the condition of BSC’s stormwater system?