Opinion

Merimbula Ocean Outfall – is that really our best option?

Ian Campbell26 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 my 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?

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

Grant Webster Grant Webster 6:47 pm 18 Aug 21

Funny how everyone was in awe of the beautiful ‘pristine’ environment we live in here with its crystal clear waters and healhthy marine life and ‘unspoilt’ beaches …. right up until this hot topic emerged. They forget this outfall has been emptying into the ocean for 47 years. Has anyone seriously noticed any illeffects? I know I haven’t. Now they are planning to improve it and everyone’s up in arms. Where were they all 5 years ago? No protests then. Because nobody noticed any damage. Now it’s become a topical point of discusssion there’s all these people saying the outfall will destroy the environment. If that was the case it would have been well and truly destroyed by now. Keep your pants on people. It’s an upgrade, not a new outfall.

Grant Webster Grant Webster 9:45 am 15 Mar 21

I think SWAMP are flogging a long dead horse. This issue has been discussed and dissected in every way possible and even Maryanne has conceded (live on Sapphire FM 97.5) that we must have a deep ocean outfall (DOO) as a safety valve when we have lots of rain. BVSC engaged consultants who looked at every one of the alternatives suggested by SWAMP and at the end of the day, no matter which option they looked at there had to be a DOO.

The SWAP argument seems be along the lines of “in a perfect world we would/could reuse at all”, but we don’t live in a perfect world and we have asked acknowledged experts in the field what they think and whatever system we eventually end up with will need a safety valve. Without that safety valve there is a very real risk that, when we get lots of rain, the treated effluent used on farmland or in wetlands will end up in our creeks and rivers, and eventually in our lakes and ocean and do way more damage to tourism and aquaculture industries like oyster farms than any DOO.

Yes, we’d all love to see all our sewerage contained and reused, but it is just not viable unless the rate payers of the shire are ready to cough up tens on millions of extra dollars to build a system capable of doing that.

For the past few decades Merimbula’s excess sewerage discharge has been dumped in the ocean with almost no detectable impact. The new scheme will be a vast improvement on that.

Maybe it’s time we stopped flushing toilets – https://www.virotech.com.au/

Grant

Deborah Elizabeth Deborah Elizabeth 12:22 am 13 Nov 19

Council CAN use 100% of the effluent on land. This will cost FAR MORE than the ocean outfall. And in flooding events we’ll STILL need the ocean outfall as no one will want their flooded land used to deal with excessive amount of treated effluent.

Who is happy to pay double their current rates to make this option work? Who is happy to see major infrastructure ploughed thru private land to get the effluent inland? Who is going to pay for the PHENOMENAL amount of energy that this pumping uphill will require every day?

There’s a drought devastating northern and western NSW right now. The worst drought our farmers have ever suffered. What’s the chance that State or Fed governments are going to fund boutique unnatural wetlands in places that aren’t supposed to have wetlands, while whole regions don’t have rivers and towns have no water at all?

Welcome to the real world. There are no perfect solutions.

Len Slater Len Slater 3:55 pm 30 Aug 19

We regularly walk our dog on Main Beach Merimbula for a considerable distance towards Pambula Beach ( and return) and are continually dismayed by the line of slimy scum that is disposed of at the tide line on the sand after ocean water recedes.

Surely this “muck” is a result of the existing sewerage outfall flowing into Merimbula Bay.

For the possible stated cost of $34 million for the Council’s proposed outfall, a better environmental outcome would be to dispose of treated water into damns on Pambula Merimbula Golf Club as well others on land on the South Pambula and similar areas where the water could be utilised for sporting grounds and farm lands.

Ryan Ryan 2:30 pm 28 Aug 19

I agree that there are many uses for well treated effluent and that these should take priority over an outfall.

BUT

There’s no rule that says once an outfall is built it must be used. Whenever someone wants to use that effluent or a beneficial opportunity for council to reuse that effluent arises it’s there, available and ready to go!

Who knows, perhaps they could even get to 100% reuse in dry years. But when it’s raining again and no-one needs it for irrigation, there’s still that ocean outfall, ready to go, for safe discharge of excess effluent that can’t be reused.

    Grant Webster Grant Webster 2:03 pm 15 Mar 21

    Now there’s a reasonable and sensible response Ryan. We’d all love NOT to put any effluent of any kind into the ocean, but we have to deal with reality.

    As you say, having an outfall doesn’t mean we have to use it all the time, and if we can find better ways to dispose of it we can still do that.

Marianne Kambouridis 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 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 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 Ian Campbell 6:08 pm 02 May 19

    Fair point Carsten, thanks for your thoughts. Ian

    Grant Webster Grant Webster 2:10 pm 15 Mar 21

    “disinformation ” has been a prevalent feature of this whole debate Carsten, and “emotive and alarmist” certainly describes the MO of proponents of the campaign. Facts and reason have been discarded in favour of misleading (dishonest) messaging – ‘poo pipe’ – and who couldn’t get a million signatures that asks (basically) “Do you want the council to dump poo in Merimbula Bay?”

    The whole thing is dishonest and unhinged IMHO.

Robyn Rosenfeldt 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.

Fraser Buchanan 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 - Secretary/Treasurer BVSRRA 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Fraser Buchanan 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 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

Ruth Maher 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 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 12:24 pm 26 Apr 19

I seems to me that this whole debate is based on the false premise that BVSC has no interest in protecting the environment or in any of the alternatives proposed by the protesters. The fact is, BVSC has already investigated all of the suggested alternatives in consultation with qualified experts, implemented those which are viable and continue to seek ways to reduce the volume that goes to the outfall. It strikes me as ironic that the petition and other protests have only emerged in the wake of BVSC’s attempts to IMPROVE the current situation – a situation that has existed for decades without protest. And really, how hard can it be to gather signatures for a petition that basically asks “do you think we should dump shit in Merimbula Bay?”.

    Marianne Kambouridis Marianne Kambouridis 8:08 am 27 Apr 19

    Actually Grant, the petition states, ” We the undersigned do NOT want a Deep Ocean Outfall for our wastewater management. We would prefer the tertiary treated effluent to be used as a by-product for making wetlands to attract more birds. An irrigation system to farmers and storage for times of drought. Similar to the Byron Bay Shire, Sunshine Coast Council, Parkes Council and East Gippsland Water.” So your words of dumping shit in Merimbula Bay need to be taken down thanks. We need to keep this discussion genuine and true.
    Council have looked at alternative ways back in 2009-2012. Now we have more information which is part of the EIS-to undertake current research…..When the Aecom people asked for the Maleny Project blueprint on their eco-forest, that spoke volumes of how Aecom was interested in looking at current information. This is all we ask.

Fraser Buchanan Fraser Buchanan 9:48 am 26 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.

    Ruth Maher Ruth Maher 3:04 pm 26 Apr 19

    I would like people who comment to learn a bit more about the process, so they better understand the biological process before they comment

Marianne Kambouridis Marianne Kambouridis 8:14 am 26 Apr 19

There are good examples in other shires of high reuse. In fact, during dry weather, we can reuse 100% and in the wet weather we can store much of this valuable by-product in dams ranging from size at the golf course and at privately owned farms. Farmers have asked for this treated effluent for some time. Our council needs to work WITH the community rather than dictate to us!

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