Rates fund study into pesticides and heavy metals
COFFS Harbour City Council has backed further independent studies into the potential impacts of Intensive Plant Agriculture on the environment.
Southern Cross University will investigate potential contamination of pesticides and heavy metals in soil, air, water, plants and animals near farming operations.
The project, which will be funded with $39,970 from Council's Environmental Levy, will also involve the development of measures to mitigate any contaminant effects and offer science-based advice to the industry and other stakeholders. The university will also seek funding for the studies from the Australian Research Council.
Council's Environment Levy currently raises around $1.3 million a year at an average cost of $44 per ratepayer, of which approximately $300,000 is available to community groups.
The Levy has already part-funded a number of studies undertaken by Southern Cross University to look at the impact that Intensive Plant Agriculture, such as blueberries, is having on our waterways.
To read more about these studies follow this link on Council's website.
Council, in partnership with NSW Health, also published a study in November 2019 into the results of a study of drinking water rainwater tanks located near intensive horticulture farms.
The recent funding was made available by the expansion of the Major Strategic Program section of the Levy to include a new theme focusing on Environmental Health and Water Quality Research that will also provide for updated estuary management plans for Darkum Creek, Woolgoolga Lake, Willis Creek and Hearnes Lake, as well as a scoping study to help develop updated estuary management plans for Moonee Creek, Coffs Creek and Boambee/Newports Creek.