A council on the mid north coast has been dealt a $15,000 fine after failing to detect the major leak over several days.
A council on the mid north coast has been dealt a $15,000 fine after failing to detect the major leak over several days. Avril Carlton

Over a million litres of sewage dumped into river

A COUNCIL on the mid north coast has been dealt a $15,000 fine after more than 1.5 million litres of raw sewage was dumped into the region's river.

The Environmental Protection Authority said the sewage was discharged over a five-day period into Bellwood Creek, feeding directly into the Nambucca River.

The EPA claims the overflow was caused by a blocked pipe which the Nambucca Shire Council had failed to detect over those five days in October last year.

EPA Manager North Coast Region Ben Lewin said the fine was issued for the council allegedly failing to comply with a condition of the Environmental Protection Licence for Nambucca Sewage Treatment Plant.

"This forced the closure of the Nambucca River to oyster farming for three weeks as sampling identified significant bacterial levels,” he said.

"This had serious consequences for the oyster farmers as well as impacts on the environment.

"A sewage treatment plant is expected to have adequate alarms to detect this kind of overflow and it is a condition of the plant's Environment Protection Licence that activities must be carried out in a competent manner.”

The Nambucca River stretches from the Dorrigo Plateau and lies adjacent to the towns of Bowraville and Macksville before feeding into the ocean at Nambucca Heads.

The Nambucca Shire Council has since undertaken major upgrades to the sewage management systems at the treatment plant, and will work with EPA to continue to improve the systems.



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