20.4 C
Byron Shire
December 3, 2022

Environmental impact assessment needed for increased STP flow

Latest News

Follow the school buses

In Byron Shire and beyond, we have a regular, convenient and reliable public transport system moving thousands of commuters...

Other News

Barrio now open every Sunday

If you’re already dreaming about the weekend, how does spending a long lunch at Barrio Eatery & Bar sound? Owing...

Cartoon of the week – 30 November 2022

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast. So don’t be a passive reader, send us your epistles.

Curious statements on Assange

The couple of letters under the headline of ‘In Defence of Julian Assange’ contained some curious statements in an...

Floodwaters essential for ecosystem rejuvenation say experts

Along with the human, infrastructure and economic devastation wrought by recent floods, come environmental costs and even benefits.

Rip Starters light up twilight cricket

The Rip Starters have played big hitting cricket to go to the top of the Byron Bay twilight cricket...

Bangalow Bread: great bread, in Bangalow

Simon Haslam Yep, the name says it all, Bangalow Bread make bread in Bangalow. But as anyone who’s perused the glutinous...

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

Management of the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant and its impacts upon the Belongil Estuary was thrashed out at Council’s August 5 meeting, with councillors deciding to undertake ‘a review of the current Opening Strategy for the Belongil ICOLL to determine whether it is impacting adversely on upstream lands within the Drainage Union catchment and/or flooding issues within the Byron Bay township.’

Waste water volumes from the STP are estimated to be up to five megalitres a day, and have been an issue for more than ten years. They have led to fish kills, Melaleuca tree dieback, erosion of the Union Canal, and long-term flooding of farmers’ fields, rendering them useless for either cropping or grazing say according to landholders and environmentalists. 

Despite the ecological impacts, Council proposes to increase the STP flow up to ten megalitres a day, as part of the additional flow path (overland flow route) project.

Belongil Estuary is under strain from the impact of human activities throughout the site. Photo Aslan Shand

Yet the Belongil Catchment Drainage Board (BDCB), who manage the Union Drain through which the excess STP flow runs, told The Echo they object to ‘the current, insufficient design of the flow path (no design south of Ewingsdale Road), and strongly object to any additional water flows into the system’.

They did, however, say they appreciate Council’s efforts and support the flow path ‘in principle’.

‘An EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] should be required before any upgrades/expansions to the STP’, the Board says.

Hydrologist and Greens Mayor aspirant, Duncan Dey, agrees with the Board and told The Echo, ‘Integration is what is needed here’.

He said, ‘The current Entrance Opening Strategy (EOS) is one of Council’s newest strategies – studies for its creation were undertaken in 2019. This review can shine a light on the performance of the mechanical openings of the Belongil. But what is really needed is to address the big wet elephant on the room: the input of five megalitres per day of treated sewage (plus more in wet weather).’

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

Conflict of objectives

Mr Dey points out that Council staff say in their comments on NoM 9.8, that management objectives within the Entrance Opening Strategy conflict with each other, as they attempt to maintain natural processes, and at the same time, limit inundation on agricultural land.

‘Interestingly, the Additional Flow Path project was Report 13.27 to that Council meeting. Its cost has just risen by $1m to about $2.5m.

‘Despite it being advertised by Council as a stormwater project, it is fully funded by the Sewer Fund, including a transfer of $1m to the General Fund (the one responsible for stormwater)’, said Mr Dey.

‘The Additional Flow Path project was yet another of Council’s own. It was self-approved under the Infrastructure SEPP (like the Belongil rockwall, and the Byron bypass).

Mr Dey added, ‘Presentation to the public as a stormwater project and design that did not examine 100-year flood scenarios must have been to protect residents of the A&I Estate from the truth; that treated sewage will reach their streets in extreme wet weather’.


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.

1 COMMENT

  1. There should not be any problems if the effluent waste water is clear of any matter and is riggerously tested before being released. I moved from Victoria, where I lived we had the Werribee Treatment plant within 5 kms of us. There was never any smell and all the waste water was pumped in the Werribee River which had an active family of Platypus living there. It was found that runoff fromthe Werribee Open Range Zoo was the cause of polution in the Werribee River.
    Stringent measure in testing the effleuent waste water before it is released is a must.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

NSW Forestry challenged over failed forestry practices in precedent-setting case

What makes bushfires worse, causes native species collapse and creates forest dieback?

Urine sample test: new way to detect and screen for early stages of Alzheimer’s disease

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, an early diagnosis – one made well before signs of irreversible dementia are apparent – is key to providing effective intervention and treatment.

Gulihl Art exhibition – bringing First Nations artists and their connection to Country to you

Byron’s ‘pop-up’ Firefly Art Gallery is presenting the work of local First Nations artists in the upcoming Gulihl Art exhibition in Marvell Hall.

A gentle day for refugee and asylum seeker families

Promoting community awareness, assistance and support, for asylum seekers and refugees, the Pottsville Refugee Support Group recently hosted refugee and asylum seeker families from Logan at a fun day at the beach.