Opinion

Merimbula Ocean Outfall – is that really our best option?

Ian Campbell 26 April 2019
The poo pipe that once did extend into the sea was destroyed in the 1970's, ever since the remains of the pipeline have dumped excess treated effluent on to Pambula - Merimbula beach. Photo: Brent Occleshaw for BVSC.

The poo pipe that once did extend into the sea was destroyed in the 1970s, ever since the remains of the pipeline have dumped excess treated effluent on to Pambula – Merimbula beach. Photo: Brent Occleshaw for BVSC.

The proposed ocean outfall for Merimbula Bay has been on my mind, perhaps a little too much, but at the same time, I feel like this is a big deal.

It wasn’t on mind however when I walked into Bemboka Pie Shop to buy a caramel slice and a lamington for a ‘meeting’ I was headed into. I wasn’t really sure what we’d talk about at this ‘meeting’ but I had a sense it would be challenging – baked treats, I thought, would be good for all concerned.

What struck me as I stood at the till paying for my goodies was the full page of signatures on a petition resting on the countertop.

“We the undersigned do NOT want a deep ocean outfall for our waste management,” the petition read.

“We would prefer the tertiary treated effluent to be used as a bi-product for making wetlands to attract birds. An irrigation system to farmers and or storage for times of drought. Similar to what the Byron Bay Shire has been doing for the last 10 years.”

The petition was launched on behalf of the Merimbula Sailboard Club by local abalone diver John Smythe, who is also a member of Council’s ocean outfall Community Working Group, and Marianne Kambouridis, the convenor of the Merimbula/Pambula Wastewater Alternatives group.

The fact that a petition at Bemboka, a village so far from the sea, had managed to attract a long list of signatures struck me.

But then again, Bemboka’s poo and wee does end up at the Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) in the back of a truck after a septic pump-out.

I don’t think Bembokans realise their five-yearly pump outs end up in Merimbula STP. In fact, all of the shire’s poo trucks dump at Merimbula. More so I think the strength of the response to the petition at Bemboka was more about the treasured Bega Valley environment and the commonsense of reusing wastewater.

These are values Bega Valley Shire Council says it holds dear.

“Our region’s reputation is based on our unspoilt natural environment and I am absolutely determined to safeguard our precious environment,” Mayor Kristy McBain said last month.

Being able to action those values and put resources behind them is always the challenge, which might explain why the region finds itself with a proposal that is at least six years old to build a 5 km pipeline into Merimbula Bay to discharge treated effluent.

There is much about Council’s plan that, to my mind, is compelling.

The existing beach-face outfall half way along Pambula – Merimbula Beach is simply unacceptable. When I first arrived in the Bega Valley 23 years ago I had to find this thing to believe it. Following a big storm in the seventies, the poo pipe that once did extend into the sea was destroyed. Ever since the remains of the pipeline have dumped excess treated effluent on to the sand.

Dunal exfiltration ponds currently used by BVSC impact groundwater and Aboriginal heritage. Photo: Brent Occleshaw for BVSC.

Dunal exfiltration ponds currently used by BVSC impact groundwater and Aboriginal heritage. Photo: Brent Occleshaw for BVSC.

The other arm to disposing of the excess is the dunal ex-filtration ponds in the sand dunes immediately behind the beach-face outfall. Again, simply unacceptable. The treated effluent ends up in groundwater and finds its way into Merimbula Lake posing a threat to the town’s famous oyster leases.

On top of that, these sand dunes hold great Aboriginal significance.

At a Council media briefing about the ocean outfall project, local elders BJ Cruse and Graham Moore talked about the area being a burial site, with at least nine bodies.

“There is a high possibility of finding other remains,” Mr Moore explained.

“This was a place of tribal huts and was a consistent place of camping and was still in use by Aboriginal people at the time of Bass and Flinders.”

We need to stop dumping our ‘shit’ in this place.

For all those reasons, in 2009 the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) instructed Council to find better disposal methods but for the last 10 years has given Council a period of grace but not the big money to do anything.

The $30 (ish) million outfall project has however been listed as ‘State Significance Infrastructure’ implying that NSW Government money will be there when the project is ready. That day is getting closer with the Environmental Impact Statement due in May next year followed by project approval five months later.

A secondary part of the project is an upgrade to the effluent treatment process and infrastructure that allows for a greater potential for reuse.

Pambula Merimbula Golf Club has 1000 sprinklers all irrigating from the Merimbula STP. Photo: BVSC

Pambula Merimbula Golf Club has 1000 sprinklers all irrigating from the Merimbula STP. Photo: BVSC

Council currently reuses about a quarter of the recycled water from Merimbula STP for irrigation at Pambula Merimbula Golf Club and Oaklands Farm.

“We’ve been distributing recycled water to the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club for over 40 years and irrigation to Oaklands began in 2013,” Council says.

“The amount of reuse varies according to rainfall and in those years of high rainfall, these sites need less irrigation.

“As much as we’d like to be able to, it is just not possible to reuse all of the treated wastewater because of our climate, existing land use and topography,” Council says.

In short, when it’s raining – we need a place to put this stuff.

On top of liquid reuse, “Merimbula STP processes beneficial bio-solids from Cobargo, Wolumla, Candelo, Kalaru, Merimbula and Pambula.”

‘Bio-solids have high nutrient value and can be used as a nutrient-rich organic soil conditioner on farms,” Council says.

“Bio-solids used to go to landfill but we are now supplying a contractor, who is working with local farms and the NSW EPA to reuse organic bio-solids.”

However, the kind of 100% reuse options suggested as an alternative to the ocean outfall have been rejected by Council as being unsuitable. Indeed, some Bega Valley Shire Councilors have suggested the EPA wouldn’t allow wetlands and the like in this region.

The reasons given come from qualified, experienced Council staff and seem sound, but essentially go back a decade.

The one thought I haven’t been able to resolve is that in these times of a changing climate, dumping what is already close to being fresh water into the ocean is our best option. It might have been in 2009 when this issue come to a head but in 2019?

In the almost ten years this project has remained unfunded by both sides of politics at a State level. Bega Valley Shire Council and the community more broadly has embraced a range of bold environmental initiatives – FOGO is the most recent and obvious.

Is something equally as bold possible with the shire’s waste water?

The Bega Valley has 10 ocean/river/beach face outfalls all discharging into an environment we treasure, the fact that after 10 years the NSW Government hasn’t yet funded the Merimbula STP upgrade presents an opportunity to do something different.

Cake anyone? I know a great little bakery!

Do you think the decision to build an ocean outfall at Merimbula should be revisited or are we too far down the track?

What's Your Opinion?

83 Responses to Merimbula Ocean Outfall – is that really our best option?

Marianne Kambouridis 1:34 pm 28 May 19

One would have to ask why is the EPA pushing for the 'dispersal' method rather than push for a very high treatment level which would negate the costs of this enormous pipeline ( $30 Million ). The EPA really need to do what they are intended to do; protect!

One would also question the chemicals and toxic waste that could end up in this pipeline. After all, no one will know what lies beneath???

Skye Etherington 2:26 pm 06 May 19

Absolutely . I t is definitely not 21st century thinking OR up to date technology to continue to think that the ocean , or our tips, for that matter are the "away" for our waste streams.

Re-use, up cycling and organic composting cycles are all available.

We just have to be willing to lead the way.

Carsten Eckelmann 4:48 pm 02 May 19

Can everyone please stop calling it a "Poo Pipe"? Treated effluent is cleaned of all human waste to a standard that is totally acceptable to be applied above ground as the application on the Merimbula Golf Course clearly indicates. Calling it a "Poo Pipe" is just wrong, causes disinformation among people that don't have the energy or time to read through the very detailed proposals on display on the BVSC website, and sounds just emotive and alarmist.

Otherwise I liked the article and I see great value in the counter proposal of retaining the treated(!) effluent for wet lands or for droughts.

    Ian Campbell 6:08 pm 02 May 19

    Fair point Carsten, thanks for your thoughts. Ian

Peter Bond Peter Bond 5:54 pm 01 May 19

There is a water shortage. Pump or truck the water to central Australia.

Sydney sewerage is being sold profitably, so why not?

David Porter David Porter 10:12 pm 30 Apr 19

This current council is not interested in community consultation, it’s simply how do we bully ratepayers into accepting our position, for example, the bike path in Tathra, 3 options and the residents say we don’t want option 1 but the council claims to have consulted the community and yet goes with whAt they want, screw the ratepayers, example 2 the great FOGO scam, council says 27% of our garbage by weight is fogo, now that equates to 5% by volume, but despite complaints our red bin garbage service has been reduced by 50%, rubbish is one of the fundamental responsibilities of council yet the smelly garbage is piling up, we have NEVER EVER seen a rat or cockroach in our house until this slovenly council stopped performing their sworn duty. I could go on with examples all night, e-zones, lot sizes, property access, the disgraceful tourism tender sham and of course this wastewater deal, can all the people signing the contract remember the names in council and change them all next election so we can have some councillors working for the benefit of the RATEPAYERS!

Robyn Rosenfeldt 4:16 pm 29 Apr 19

Wouldn't it be great if the Bega Valley Shire could be a leader in this area and create an example that other councils can look up to and emulate. Rather than a tired old council using outdated ideas that will harm and degrade the very thing that makes our region so special, our pristine beaches and clean waters.

Connie Crawford Connie Crawford 4:50 pm 28 Apr 19

Told you before - No amount of conversing with the Shire is going to change the out come - Outfall is it... it’s all just PR work!! 🥵

Fraser Buchanan 8:51 pm 27 Apr 19

The Pambula Merimbula Golf club have floated the idea of putting a massive holding capacity at the top of their course in the bush and developing and converting their other dams into effluent ponds, soaks, reed beds, etc linked together meandering down through the course as an extra treatment/polishing process with the effluent finishing back at the treatment works ready for distribution to reuse users and or disposal through exfiltration trench....what a great concept another concept that has never been given any consideration by the council or the previous focus group.. amazing how things can change and evolve over time..

John Richardson John Richardson 10:26 am 27 Apr 19

The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) believes that council is determined to pursue the ocean outfall pipeline, regardless of the merits of alternate, more responsible environmental options, such as exfiltration & re-use.

We believe that if council was seriously interested in pursuing the “best” solution for the community (environment), then it would be doing its utmost to ensure that all possible alternatives were fully examined in an open & transparent fashion, instead of working assiduously to dismiss alternate options.

For those who would dismiss the exfiltration/reuse option, please be aware that it was council’s original Focus Group that recommended that should funding by State and Federal Governments not be forthcoming, then council should “consider an effluent management strategy involving a Shallow Dunal Exfiltration system for disposal, additional treatment plant upgrades including nitrogen reduction & the expansion of effluent irrigation on the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club”.

Along the line, council has insisted (falsely) that the pipeline option is the only option & that that decision was taken by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

Council, including Mayor Kristy McBain, has recently made much of the need to close the exfiltration works in the dunes adjacent to the beach behind the current beach outfall pipe, on the basis that there is a need to respect Aboriginal artefacts & burial sites, & to prevent the ongoing seepage of sewage pollution into the nearby lakes system.

At the same time, in response to community concerns voiced over the proposed outfall pipeline, council’s general manager, Leanne Barnes, tried to downplay its significance by saying that it would only be used as a “last resort”, before going-on to make the ridiculous claim that council would “love to be able to do 100% reuse”.

Notwithstanding the smoke & mirrors being used by council to justify its actions & confuse the community, the community needs to recognise that if the dunal exfiltration system is shut-down & the reuse system remains as it is, then 70% of all sewage effluent will travel into the ocean 5kms offshore from Merimbula/Pambula beach.

Since most of the key decisions that council is blindly pursuing were made almost a decade ago, this country has come to better understand the real value of water resources, as well as the sheer stupidity & irresponsibility of despoiling our environment with pollutants simply because we are too ignorant & lazy to seriously examine the alternatives. John Richardson, Secretary/Treasurer, BVSRRA.

    Grant Webster Grant Webster 7:26 pm 27 Apr 19

    Given that all things are possible if you have the money to pay for it, I wonder what the BVSRRA would have to say about BVSC spending an extra few $M of rate payers' money on "the “best” solution for the community (environment)" given that they scream blue murder every time BVSC spend ten bucks on anything. SCT spent $4M on tourism promotion in a decade and BVSRRA banged on about it for years - even though tourism expenditure increased $19M in one year. Fraser was on the radio a while back arguing that SCT was a waste of money because "the tourists are coming here in droves anyway". Um yeah. I wonder why they're coming in droves Fraser. My experience of BVSRRA is they love an argument regardless of how baseless their concerns are or how incoherent their arguments are. They have a membership base of 75 people - out of 33,000 shire residents.

    John Richardson John Richardson 5:32 pm 28 Apr 19

    Grant Webster Hi Grant. I can see you haven't lost your capacity to twist the facts to suit your agenda. For the record (& not for the first time) our bitch with council's spending of ratepayers funds in support of the tourism industry was not about the expenditure itself, but rather that there was no oversight of that expenditure & no accounting for it, not to lose sight of the fact that there was little to show in the way of benefits). As for your observation about Fraser's comments, her was referring to unconscionable waste of money being frittered-away on the expansion of the airport in pursuit of an alleged 600,000 increase of inbound tourist number when we already attract upwards of 1M every year without that. The BVSRRA has always supported tourism but it has also argue that the tourism strategy should be targetting his value low volume tourism rather than the low value high volume approach being pursued by Constance & his ilk; even though they know & understand that we do not have the infrastructure to support those numbers. Coiming back to the issue at hand, given that council is already talking about spending $30M + for the sewage outfall pipeline proposal, we think that there is ample room to examine alternate proposals that might well cost less than that. Of course, if you aren't even interested in exploring that possibility, you really have no point to make. BTW Grant, why are you so positive about outfall proposal or is it that your real issue is with the BVSRRA?

    Grant Webster Grant Webster 6:10 pm 28 Apr 19

    1) Fraser was talking about SCT funding on the radio when he said "tourists are coming here in droves anyway". 2) I don't know anything about the airport expansion and have never commented about it. 3) The tourism strategy, since 2008, has targeted "well heeled experience seekers" (high value, low volume) through the Coastal Wilderness branding and partnerships with entities such as Paddy Pallin. "Constance and his ilk" are typical Liberals - 2D minds in a 3D world. 4) BVSC has already examined several alternative proposals in consultation with the community and qualified experts. 5) It's not that I am "positive about the outfall proposal", I just see an endless stream of uninformed comment and misinformation about the project. Hysteria has overwhelmed any chance of an adult conversation and reality has gone out the window. 6) BVSRRA always has lots to say and nothing to contribute.

    John Richardson John Richardson 5:32 pm 30 Apr 19

    Grant Webster Thanks Grant. Would you like us to add you to our distribution list so you can be better informed?

    Grant Webster Grant Webster 5:33 pm 30 Apr 19

    Sure John.

Fraser Buchanan Fraser Buchanan 10:07 am 27 Apr 19

The proposed treatment upgrades are limited to some phosphorous reduction and UV treatment to kill bacteria and pathogens, there is no additional proposal to remove nitrogen....we are dealing with a product that has many chemicals, micro plastics, medicines and endocrine disruptors and high levels of nutrient, a cocktail of nasties to be pumped into our bay for perpetuity something so archaic and destroying our marine environment in the process........back nearly a decade ago when the council carried out there options studies they looked at the idea of treating the effluent to the very highest standard, to a standard that would remove all of these nasties and provide a product that would be drinkable and could be returned to the Yellow Pinch dam water supply, this at the time was costed and was marginally dearer than building a mega outfall pipe and just doing minor treatment upgrades, it was seen by the then focus group as unacceptable because they didn't believe the public would accept having recycled effluent in their water supply.... perhaps true....but if you take the cost of running a pipeline out to the dam out of the equation then the project would be way cheaper than the outfall option and you have a product that is literally best quality and drinkable and of no harm to the environment......and to deal with excess water an exfiltration trench also costed at the time could be built away from the existing pond area's at a minimal additional cost addressing any Aboriginal heritage issues by Xray scanning the sand dunes beforehand.....additional reuse for the Golf course and farmers desperate for water given as a priority......it has got to be a better outcome.

John Richardson - Secretary/Treasurer BVSRRA 9:51 am 27 Apr 19

Hi Ian.

Thanks for your informative piece on the proposed sewage outfall pipeline in Merimbula/Pambula.

The Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA) believes that council is determined to pursue the ocean outfall pipeline, regardless of the merits of alternate, more responsible environmental options, such as exfiltration & re-use.

We believe that if council was seriously interested in pursuing the “best” solution for the community (environment), then it would be doing its utmost to ensure that all possible alternatives were fully examined in an open & transparent fashion, instead of working assiduously to dismiss alternate options.

For those who would dismiss the exfiltration/reuse option, please be aware that it was council’s original Focus Group that recommended that should funding by State and Federal Governments not be forthcoming, then council should “consider an effluent management strategy involving a Shallow Dunal Exfiltration system for disposal, additional treatment plant upgrades including nitrogen reduction & the expansion of effluent irrigation on the Pambula Merimbula Golf Club”.

Along the line, council has insisted (falsely) that the pipeline option is the only option & that that decision was taken by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).

Council, including Mayor Kristy McBain, has recently made much of the need to close the exfiltration works in the dunes adjacent to the beach behind the current beach outfall pipe, on the basis that there is a need to respect Aboriginal artefacts & burial sites, & to prevent the ongoing seepage of sewage pollution into the nearby lakes system.

At the same time, in response to community concerns voiced over the proposed outfall pipeline, council’s general manager, Leanne Barnes, tried to downplay its significance by saying that it would only be used as a “last resort”, before going-on to make the ridiculous claim that council would “love to be able to do 100% reuse”.

Notwithstanding the smoke & mirrors being used by council to justify its actions & confuse the community, the community needs to recognise that if the dunal exfiltration system is shut-down & the reuse system remains as it is, then 70% of all sewage effluent will travel into the ocean 5kms offshore from Merimbula/Pambula beach.

Since most of the key decisions that council is blindly pursuing were made almost a decade ago, this country has come to better understand the real value of water resources, as well as the sheer stupidity & irresponsibility of despoiling our environment with pollutants simply because we are too ignorant & lazy to seriously examine the alternatives.

John Richardson

Secretary/Treasurer

Bega Valley Shire Residents & Ratepayers Association (BVSRRA)

Christopher Nicholls 8:18 am 27 Apr 19

As much as I love engineers and what they do - I've been working with them most of my working life - and acknowledge how important what they do is, I think we also need highly creative, knowledgeable and outside of the box thinkers and input on this. There are almost certainly alternatives and aspects that have not been conceived let alone considered.

To date, there's a been process followed and two groups of people from our community engaged - the Community Focus Group was industry/Council/community, which followed a rational and systematic process - 'guided' though it was; and the latest part of that process, the Community Working Group (CWG), currently underway and tasked with two things: to select a ocean outfall pipe location within a polygon selected by council engaged engineers in Merimbula Bay; and to consider the level of treatment of the effluent. The CWG is also responsible for socialising this with the wider community, so the outcome has good community consideration.

In the CWG we are lucky to find a good blend of representatives who variously represent aspects of our community – one which also includes various industries here on the Coast.

Regardless of individual opinion, CWG's members care very much about the outcome and I think are doing their level best to represent the community as a whole. That being said there's only so much that they can do with what is really, a fait accompli. The 'poo pipe' is the only alternative being considered by the CWG - no others.

Many in the community feel that there are potential alternatives, and some have been explored. Cost and time are very much against us, and no amount of complaining will make that better. But with $25m and $30m figures being bandied around we need to be very sure that we do have the right choice, regardless of what processes and selection mechanisms we have followed and carried out.

Growth and development in the Bega Valley and Merimbula in particular has not been ‘planned’; much of it just ‘happened’, and development here is usually reactive to a situation which arises because of changes in requirements or events that overtake it. The Merimbula STP is an example of that and something that has to a certain extent been let slide by the Council. The fact it has a naked beach outfall pipe, and inadequate exfiltration beds, discharging pretty nasty treated effluent onto our ‘pristine’ environment in one of the most popular tourist beaches and areas on the entire coast, in this day and age is unbelievable – particularly considering the tourism value of the area and the potential danger of disease through the contamination of fisheries and the aquaculture industry here.

If you were building a sewer treatment plant in this day and age, where would you site it in Merimbula – I bet it wouldn’t be where it currently is, wedged between the sea and the lake estuary.

So what to do?

Two things – firstly, immediately upgrade the treatment of the effluent, so what we are discharging is less toxic and dangerous to ourselves and our environment. If we do this, it will buy us a bit of time and satisfy one of the criteria the EPA is concerned about. Secondly, let’s review the range of alternatives available reconsider them, explore others and get some state-of-the-art solutions on the table – and if we end up with an ocean outfall of some kind, let’s make sure we have the best one which isn’t an expedient solution – transferring the effluent problem somewhere else.

    Marianne Kambouridis 12:49 pm 27 Apr 19

    Council's report on the STP states that of the $30 million, $2 million will be for the upgrade of treatment. Why then, have we endured the current secondary treatment for so long? One would think that the upgrading would be our first priority, regardless of the infrastructure of pipes. AS for the range of alternatives available TODAY, one only needs to look at Merimbula/Pambula Wastewater Alternatives ( FB page) where several engineering companies have been quoted, ideas shared, documents uploaded and photos of wetlands, eco-forests, videos of other shires embracing solar power, nature, community assets. All of which BVSC appear to have NOT done well enough to our satisfaction. At the moment, the treated effluent is being compromised by the duck poo prior to discharge into our beach. A simple solution to this is making use of floating solar panels to run the pumps. All of which can be found on our FB page above.

    John Richardson - Secretary/Treasurer BVSRRA 1:46 pm 27 Apr 19

    Excellent proposal Christopher, although we seriously doubt if the flat earth knuckle-draggers care.

    The fact that you have had to advance your suggestion demonstrates the absence of real leadership from our elected council.

    Where is the so-called "Green" councillor? Why haven't we heard from the rest of the councillors as to their views? Why is it being left to the Mayor & council officials to pursue the current misleading campaign?

    The BVSRRA believes that council's real commitment to the environment was recently demonstrated by its failure to impose sanctions on a developer following multiple breaches of council's environmental regulations when sediment from a subdivision in Mirador flowed into Merimbula's Back Lake. Says it all really.

    To expect an administration willing to look the other way in the face of such parlous behaviour must cause most thinking/concerned residents & ratepayers to have little or no confidence in council's willingness & capacity to properly address the challenges attached to such a major project as effectively dealing with effluent management.

Alexandra Seddon 11:28 pm 26 Apr 19

Use Byron Bay’s experience and get the benefit of all the nutrients ie use on farms etc.

Do NOT dump in the ocean (at vast expense).

    Marianne Kambouridis 7:54 am 27 Apr 19

    Hi Alexandra, Now I just found this. Totally agree with you. We can harness nature, solar power and turn some of the area around Lochiel into magnificent eco-forests and wetlands.

Elaine Cozens Elaine Cozens 9:47 pm 26 Apr 19

Just do the wise thing council it is clear enough to residents

Dörte Planert Dörte Planert 6:39 pm 26 Apr 19

So much money spent on an inferior option, which is not a real solution. It can't be the best option. If the water is clean enough, it can be reused for e.g. irrigation. If not, it should not end up in our oceans either.

Anthony Grant Anthony Grant 5:45 pm 26 Apr 19

Treatment Plants ....

👁👁

Are the ONLY WAY forward, OTHERWISE your just increasing the pipe pumping SEWAGE and RUBBISH INTO OUR OCEANS which is NOT OK ... 😡😡😡😡😡

Fraser Buchanan 5:33 pm 26 Apr 19

In the article Ian you make the statement that the proposal is to basically dump what is close to fresh water into our ocean....well this is not correct in fact the proposed treatment upgrades are limited to some phosphorous reduction and UV treatment to kill bacteria and pathogens, there is no additional proposal to remove nitrogen which is a real stimulator of algal growth not good to be going into our bay which is ever so vulnerable to algal blooms....we are dealing with a product that has many chemicals, micro plastics, medicines and endocrine disruptors and high levels of nutrient, a cocktail of nasties to be pumped into our bay for perpetuity something very old world, when there are alternate options available...if we spend the bucks on the pipeline it will be at the expense of the treatment of the effluent an will cost the marine environment...way better off putting the bucks into producing the ultimate product and disposal is then not such an issue

    Ian Campbell 7:02 am 27 Apr 19

    Thanks, Fraser, appreciate your point around 'freshwater' I am aware of what you point to. My point was to highlight the fact this is a resource that could perhaps be used rather than dumped. Cheers Ian

Elly Bloch Elly Bloch 5:09 pm 26 Apr 19

No do not approve. X

Ruth Maher 2:57 pm 26 Apr 19

Why not upgrade the final tertiary treatment at Merimbula STP, then pump it back to yellow pinch dam, then put all the water and treated effluent used for the reticulation system through a new to be built micro membrane filtration system and reuse it over and over again like other countries not scared to reuse treated effluent for drinking, washing, bathing we are out of the dark ages, and the want to use it on wetlands, what a joke

    Marianne Kambouridis 8:01 am 27 Apr 19

    Upgrading the treatment is part of the STP Ruth. Our group are asking for total reuse during the dry weather and a minimum of discharge during the wetter months. Give that this effluent is highly treated, the chemicals used can be toxic to our marine life, so we are advocating that the wetlands are used to help keep this discharge to an absolute minimum. The chemicals on land can be neutralised hence the wetlands system. Wetlands are the kidneys of the planet and are certainly not from the dark ages. The benefits of such are huge-providing carbon sinks, moist areas during summer, green spaces, habitat for wildlife, tourism. We basically need our council to manage this through a combination of alternatives rather than a one size fits all approach.

Grant Webster Grant Webster 2:09 pm 26 Apr 19

This has been a 10 year process and BVSC have considered every alternative people are now proposing and have done so in consultation with the community and qualified experts. It's all to simple to just say "we should pump it out on to farms or into dams" without understanding the full implications of those alternatives.

    Stephen Kambouridis Stephen Kambouridis 2:14 pm 26 Apr 19

    Sounds like Tony' s logic. Trust us. Coal is the way to go.

    Marianne Kambouridis Marianne Kambouridis 2:35 pm 26 Apr 19

    And 10 years ago, we had fewer options. Today we can find examples of serious reuse options, crops, wetlands, eco-forests and irrigation systems with the use of plastic media trickling filters. We have three engineering companies who all state without at doubt, that an ocean outfall is madness. While you are at it Grant Webster, have a look at Clean Ocean Foundation, as they have an outfall data base with some very disturbing facts. Facts that councils do NOT want us to be aware of.

    Dörte Planert Dörte Planert 4:34 pm 27 Apr 19

    Germany is transforming/recycling its water back into the system, running it through 5x filtration e.g. natural rock pools and weed ponds, making it fully drinkable. Perhaps Australia needs to look at such options, instead of only looking for the cheapest solution. Berlin does not even need to chlorinate because of natural filtration, only uses UV to kill bacteria.

    Grant Webster Grant Webster 6:34 pm 27 Apr 19

    With all due respect Marianne, "crops, wetlands, eco-forests and irrigation systems with the use of plastic media trickling filters" were not invented in the last 10 years. I suggest you draft a comprehensive proposal for an alternative system complete with feasibility studies, environmental impact studies, detailed plans and engineering and a budget to present to council. Everything you have proposed is possible, but is it viable at this location when all the variables are taken into account? I heard you interviewed on Sapphire FM a while back and you said you accept the fact that an outfall is a necessary part of any system we have. You even went so far as to suggest we could just keep dumping it on the beach instead of taking it further out. No thanks. Who are the "three engineering companies who all state without at doubt, that an ocean outfall is madness"? Peace.

    Marianne Kambouridis Marianne Kambouridis 7:05 pm 27 Apr 19

    Grant Webster Our council are the ones who should be undertaking a feasibility study on current options. The three engineering compainies are, The Water and Carbon Group. David Flegilman's TYR treatment and reuse group and The Global Water Institute. I also have Michael Bingham from Byron Bay Shire council who went through similar community opposition for their STP who has been a goldmine of information and support for us. Peace

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