11 September 2019

Council invites questions about Merimbula Ocean Outfall project

| Ian Campbell
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The current beach face outfall on Merimbula - Pambula Beach. Photo: Brent Occleshaw on behalf of BVSC

The current beach face outfall on Merimbula – Pambula Beach. Photo: Brent Occleshaw on behalf of BVSC

Community discussion about the Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and Ocean Outfall Project rolls on during May with Bega Valley Shire Council continuing its information tour of the region.

Water and Sewer Services staff will be in Merimbula and Pambula over the next three weekends, giving people a chance to ask questions and find out more about this contentious project.

Water and Sewer Manager, Jim Collins, says the four info sessions held earlier this year at Bar Beach and local markets generated a lot of interest.

“We had great community turn out and I encourage people to come by and talk to us about the project,” he says.

The Merimbula STP is one of 10 that Council owns and operates along the Sapphire Coast. The NSW Environment Protection Authority has raised concerns with the existing beach face outfall on Merimbula- Pambula Beach and the use of dunal ex-filtration ponds in the sand dunes immediately behind the beach-face outfall.

In response, Council is moving ahead with an upgrade to the STP and the quality of the wastewater it producers and construction of an ocean outfall into Merimbula Bay to dispose of excess treated wastewater.

However, some in the community have questioned the common sense of disposing of wastewater at sea.

“The crux of the matter is a higher treatment that will give us almost potable water will negate the need to construct a $30 million pipeline out to sea,” says Marianne Kambouridis, convenor of the Merimbula/Pambula Wastewater Alternatives group.

“There is no logic in this waste of resources if we are going to increase the treatment.

“The feedback we are getting from Council is – go away and let us get on with what we decided 10 years ago!

Pointing to the current wastewater reuses from Merimbula STP, Mayor Kristy McBain says, “We need a sustainable disposal method for when it rains because the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club, Oaklands Farm, and other feasible reuse sites can’t take all of our recycled water. Finding a long term and effective solution has been difficult.”

“I believe that we have a balanced solution – an improved treatment plant producing cleaner recycled water, a new ocean outfall for sustainable disposal when needed and increased reuse capability,” Cr McBain says.

Currently, 25% of wastewater is reused, Ms Kambouridis and her group are lobbying for 100% reuse.

Council’s info tour:

  • Hylands Corner, Merimbula between 8.00 am and 12.30 pm, Saturday, May 11
  • Pambula Markets between 8.00 am and 12.30 pm, Sunday, May 12
  • Merimbula Seaside Markets between 8.00 am and 12.30 pm, Sunday, May 19

Council has established a dedicated website to outline its perspective, as well as a toll free info line – 1800 029 478 and email – [email protected]

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All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
Stephen Kambouridis3:54 pm 10 May 19

The outfall at Gunnamatta in Victoria discharges 400ML pet day. It is approx 200metres off the beach
They treat the water to class A plus and there is NO problem.
Why do we need to go out 5km?

Marianne Kambouridis3:12 pm 10 May 19

100% reuse in dry weather. In wet weather, we must discharge some of the effluent into our ocean. However, if we can push for A+ treatment, we may be able to keep our pipeline to under 500m which will save impacting on our marine environment. The money saved can go toward funding the treatment. We also need to push for more solar and methane power to keep our costs down.

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