Richmond Valley Council Wastes Money on Bread & Circuses While Sewerage Effluent Overflows in Coraki: Priorities?

The Sewerage Treatment Plant at Coraki is very close to residential areas in Coraki including the Box Ridge Community.  Locals complain that the place stinks.

The Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) at Coraki is very close to residential areas in Coraki including the Box Ridge Community. Locals complain that the place stinks.  Effluent from the plant is licensed to run into the irregular pond below the rectangular treatment ponds shown here.  Note the bright green below the treatment ponds indicating fertiliser.

The aerial photograph below also shows two green patches adjacent to the release point for the effluent released from the STP.   This most likely indicates leakage of significant levels of nutrients such as Nitrogen and Phosphorus from the STP.  Aerial maps including recent recent photographs taken by local aviators show that the green patches persist.

Recent aerial photograph of the Coraki STP taken July 2014.  Note the 'green areas'

Recent aerial photograph of the Coraki STP taken July 2014. Note the ‘green areas’

It seems hard to believe that a council in this day and age in NSW would waste hundreds of thousands of dollars on new and meaningless entrance signs to its towns and villages and yuppy banners while its sewerage treatment plants are not up to scratch and polluting the local environment.  Yet that’s exactly what Richmond Valley Council is doing aided and abetted by the Environment Protection Authority.

Believe it or not the Coraki Sewerage Treatment Plant breaches repeatedly its minimal licence requirements. Here is the summary of its Annual Returns from 1999 to 31 August 2013 from the EPA website.  Note that it has breached requirements every year since 1999:

Non-compliance summary

Non-compliance summary: Every year since 1999

Total Suspended Solids limits have been exceeded on four occasions because of an algal bloom (shades of Evans Head STP) and volume limits have been exceeded on 21 occasions for the 2012-2013 year and we are waiting on results for 2013-2014.

Coraki STP non-compliance

Coraki STP non-compliance summary showing that there were 25 breaches from 1 September 2012 to 31 August 2013

And the pattern has been repeating itself year after year:

Non-compliance

Non-compliance on 16 occasions: 6 for exceedances of Total Suspended Solids and 10 for volume above licence limits

Non-compliance

Non-compliance on 13 occasions: 2 for TSS exceedance and 11 for volume discharge exceeding licence limits

 

It is only in April this year (2014) that the EPA requested Council begin to monitor both Nitrogen and Phosphorus in spite of the evidence of repeated licence breaches and has yet to introduce a ‘load based’ licence and charges for its discharge.  Disgraceful!

Licence variation from the EPA April 2014

Licence variation from the EPA April 2014

But then the EPA has a lousy history when it comes to putting appropriate measures in place to curb and control pollution and  insisting on compliance.

The Evans Head STP with pollution of Salty Lagoon was a classic case of the failure of the EPA to do its job and even now it licences Richmond Valley Council to dump tonnes of Nitrogen and Phosphorus into a waterway that runs into Salty Lagoon in Broadwater National Park:

Load based licensing for the Evans Head Sewerage Treatment Plant

Load based licensing for the Evans Head Sewerage Treatment Plant.  Note that the EPA actually licences Richmond Valley Council to dump up to 9.6 tonnes of Nitrogen (a fertiliser) a year.  No wonder Salty Lagoon continues to stink and Parks and Wildlife have put up a sign about the water not being suitable for humans

Sign at Salty Lagoon in Broadwater National Park: "Water Not Suitable for Swimming"

Sign at Salty Lagoon in Broadwater National Park: “Water Not Suitable for Swimming”

So Richmond Valley Council it’s time for you to get your priorities right and stop wasting ratepayer money on public relations crap.

And EPA it is time for you to lift your game and stop load-based licensing with release of pollutants to the environment with some tiny charge attached.  Do your job.  There is no reason why effluent shouldn’t be cleaned up completely so that it can be recycled.  The technology is there to do it.

If council has money to waste on meaningless solar-driven triangles and bikini clad surfer signs it surely must have money to spend on FUNDAMENTALS such as stopping pollution of the environment.

STOP WASTING OUR MONEY on PR CRAP and focus on real CRAP!

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