Creek stink alarm was black sludge

A FOUL smell in Newport Creek south of Coffs Harbour was enough to ring alarm bells yesterday.

A concerned resident contacted authorities at 10.30am to report the bad odour coming from the creek flowing behind Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

Coffs Harbour Fire Station crews, including a hazardous materials team, dashed to the scene and discovered black sludge floating on top of the water.

Station officer Sally Foote said the substance could be traced to a stormwater outlet which empties into the creek near the industrial estate at Cook Drive/O'Keefe Drive.

“We deployed our hazmat boat from a boat ramp on Bonville Creek and placed booms in the area around the outlet and also about 50 metres downstream to make sure it didn't spread further,” she said.

“A relatively small quantity has emptied into the creek, and the heavy rain overnight may have contributed to it, we don't know.”

Fire crews contacted Coffs Harbour City Council and the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), with representatives sent to the scene of the spill yesterday afternoon.

DECC regional manager, Alex Purvis, said yesterday afternoon the substance seemed to be oil, and the council was bringing in a truck to pump it out of the creek.

“We are endeavouring to locate the source,” he said.



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