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Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Council staff respond to greywater standoff with Ed Dept at Byron Bay Public School

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Byron Bay Public School. Photo www.byron4kids.com.au.

Further to last week’s story regarding the impasse with the NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) and Byron Council over a grey water system, Council’s Manager Utilities, Cameron Clark, has provided more details behind the arrangement.

He told The Echo that in 2019, Byron Bay Public School approached Council asking if it was possible for recycled water to be connected to the school to irrigate its gardens and playing fields.

‘As strong advocates of water reuse, Council staff met with school representatives, including the NSW Department of Education to discuss the project.

‘Council then began the process of drafting a recycled water agreement with the school and laid necessary pipework to the school.

‘This was completed in November 2019, and is waiting to be turned on.

‘Council has invested approximately $20,000 for the installation of the infrastructure and it is also responsible for its maintenance, repair and replacement, to the point of supply, on the school property. We are also responsible for providing test results on the water quality and we have committed to testing the water every two weeks’.

Mr Clark outlined other Byron venues, businesses and parks where Council’s recycled water is currently used.

‘The recycled water is treated to an extremely high standard and must meet all NSW and Australian Health Guidelines’, Mr Clark said.

‘The school has requested it be able to access Council’s recycled water and we have done everything possible to meet this request including a Recycled Water Use agreement [that] has been drafted and presented to Byron Bay Public School; DET states that the Recycled Water Use agreement can only be validly made by DET. Council responded that it is fine to change the agreement to be between the Department of Education and the Byron Shire Council. But, as the school is the participating land manager and has responsibilities regarding how the water is used, they will need to be included in the agreement as well’.

The Echo previously sought comment from the DET, but they declined to explain why the impasse has occurred.

Council has offered DET all the flexibility to enable an agreement that is satisfactory to all parties. Council has remain transparent with BB Public School regarding progress of conversations with DET’.

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