10.3 C
Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Concerns over Byron Bay STP and Union Drains

Latest News

Youth arrested over Nimbin shooting

A 20-year-old has been charged over a shooting that took place in the middle of the day near the centre of Nimbin.

Other News

Independent assessment needed to determine use of Alstonville aquifers

The Save Alstonville Aquifer Group have raised concerns regarding the potential impact on the aquifer of making it part...

South East Queensland lockdown continues for another five days

Queensland Health has issued a statement that says the current lockdown in South East Queensland will continue for another five days as a precaution following new cases in the state.

Dog off-leash parks coming to Tweed

Tweed Shire Council is seeking feedback from the community on off-leash dog parks at Bray Park and Banora Point. ‘The...

Pandemic

Sarah Smith, Byron Shire Finally, our premier is speaking a language that the business community of Sydney should comprehend – a...

Cartoon of the week – 4 August, 2021

We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

Unnecessary divisions

Louise Andrews, Lennox Head Dear Mandy, an excellent article in The Echo (Soapbox, 21 July). It saddens me too to witness...

Malaleeuca trees on the floodplain are dying. Photo Aslan Shand

The Byron Shire Council (BSC) has announced that they are scraping the sandbar at the entrance to Belongil Creek at Byron Bay this week, but one local landholder says this is too little, too late.

‘The water has been high for over four weeks now, and once again, the melaleuca trees on the floodplain are dying’, said local land holder, Tom Vidal.

‘But because they have waited so long to open the mouth of the estuary, if they do it now, without significant rain, then there is a big chance of a fish kill. We’ve had six flood events over the last two years, and the mouth opening strategy is just not working’.

Local land owner Tom Vidal standing next to the Union Drain. Photo Aslan Shand

The Union Drain system drains the area and turns it into useful farmland for grazing. When the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) was built the landholders agreed to allow about one megalitre of treated STP water a day to help reduce peat fire risks and acid sulphate soils.

One of the conditions of consent for the EPA licence was that after 2002, any treated effluent being placed in the Belongil system would be matched by reuse and not dumped in the Belongil.

The Byron STP now runs up to five megalitres a day into the Union Drain, and thus into Belongil Estuary. BSC has failed to meet the requirement of new (the increasing amount) treated water being diverted into reuse programs.

This means that not only are they in breach of their operating conditions, but have left landholders with unusable farmland for over ten years.

The full Union Drain that flows into the Belongil Estuary with flooded fields beyond it. Photo Aslan Shand

‘The drains have been so full for so long, including with water from the STP, and because the mouth hasn’t been opened, that the banks of the drains are starting to collapse and trees are starting to fall into them’, Mr Vidal told The Echo.

As local hydrologist and member of the floodplain committee, Duncan Dey, told The Echo, ‘The problem is the increasing number of people connected to the STP without a review of the capacity of the receiving environment to cope’.

‘One option for Council is to say any new developments that want to connect to the STP can only produce the same amount of sewage as is currently being produced from that site that is being developed, while Council looks for future capacity’.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The people of Byron have a weak Byron Council because councillors are too weak to stipulate that new estates can not produce sewage for Health reasons of the whole electorate. Hold the toilet paper folks, we need to get constipated. Hold it in while Council decides what to do. We are in th poo.

  2. The old “to help prevent Peat fires chestnut” 🤣🤣🤣.

    Why not be honest and say “well we have to dump it somewhere so meh in she goes”.

    Too busy rubber stamping new sub divisions to worry about pesky nature, aka future sub divisions.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW Parliament off for a month, with full pay

With COVID-19 cases surging across Sydney and defence forces being deployed in the city, NSW Parliament put out a brief statement last week saying MPs will not sit in the month of August ‘owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in NSW’.

Markets could return to Byron’s Butler St Reserve

Byron’s weekly farmers’ market may return to its traditional home in Butler Street Reserve after detailed soil testing found that the park was less contaminated than was feared.

Push to create transitional accommodation at Lot 22

Should the Council-owned plot of land in Mullumbimby, known as Lot 22, be used for temporary accommodation for those at risk of homelessness, as a matter of urgency?

Sticking to facts

Roger Cotgreave, Byron Bay Thanks to The Echo for reporting scientific facts around the pandemic and not relying on social media ‘research’. Also a big thanks...