Alan Dickens, Brunswick Heads
Misinformation being supplied by Byron Shire Council’s (BSC) Water and Recycling (W&R) is becoming commonplace. The policy adopted in the ‘90s was to remove the effluent leaving the Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTP) so it didn’t enter our waterways and the ocean.
The strategy mainly involved reuse of treated effluent in rural and urban areas.
The Information on the Council’s W&R website is also very misleading – and condemning. The breakdown of reuse from the West Byron plant is 80 per cent to the Byron Golf Club, nine per cent to standpipes for use in roadworks water trucks, six per cent parks and gardens, three per cent nurseries, and two per cent to public toilets. This adds up to 100 per cent reuse – which complies with what the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) asked for, as a condition for allowing South Byron STP to be taken offline.
West Byron STP inflow is approximately 2,000 KLS per day, but increases at times to over 7,000 KLS/ day during storm events. To accept that 80 per cent of the annual total treated effluent leaving West Byron STP is going to end up being used on the Byron Golf Club is totally unrealistic. Alternatively, Council could be perceived as dumping this effluent into the pond at the golf course?
The BSC W&R website also quotes rural farms are taking reuse. This also is totally misleading, as only one farm may be taking treated effluent from Brunswick Valley STP.
Bangalow and Ocean Shores still discharge into the Brunswick River, and I would imagine Brunswick Valley does as well.
At the first Water Waste & Sewer Committee meeting I attended in 2018 I asked a question; ‘Does BSC still have a reuse policy, and is W&R actively pursuing new sites to take reuse?’. The answer was ‘No’. Present at the meeting was the then general manager, the mayor, and three elected councillors. Not one person questioned this response from the W&R representative.