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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Unsightly foam on Tweed beaches is marine organic matter: Council

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Concerned residents recently got in touch with Tweed Shire Council after they spotted scum and foam on beaches along the Tweed Coast.

The large amount of beach scum in The Tweed has concerned some residents. Image Tweed Shire Council

The Council says has tested samples of the scum at its Tweed Laboratory Centre and confirmed it is naturally occurring marine organic matter.

‘While the material looks unsightly and has a strong odour, it is a natural phenomenon and has nothing to do with Council’s wastewater treatment processes or sewers,’ Manager Water and Wastewater Operations Brie Jowett said.

The Council says it operates its wastewater plants, which treat raw sewage, under strict Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licences.

Wastewater is reportedly treated to a ‘tertiary standard with disinfection,’ which produces a very high quality effluent that can be reused or recycled and/or safely discharged to the environment.

‘We constantly monitor our treatment processes and the discharge of treated effluent to our waterways. Any non-compliance is reportable and Council can be fined,’ Ms Jowett said.

Throughout the year, Council tests water from Tweed waterways to ensure that the water is safe to swim in.

In summer, the frequency of these bacteriological tests at popular swimming spots increases in line with swimming activity.

In the event that water quality is found to be unsafe, Council would close the swimming spot and post signs to advise the public of poor water quality.

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    • Nah, it is like when you run a protein skimmer on a fishtank. Like waves, it seperates proteins and the final product is a froth of scum.


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