The plan affects properties at the southern end of the island, top right of the photo.
The plan affects properties at the southern end of the island, top right of the photo.

Sewer to save river

SEWERING the southern end of Newry Island is the only way to ensure the long-term health of the Kalang River.

That is the conclusion drawn by the geotechnical report received by Bellingen Council at the end of August.

And it is on the strength of this that letters have been sent to residents alerting them to plans to extend the island’s sewer main, connection to which would cost each landholder $15,000 (connection pipe and individual pump station) plus $2306 (one-off connection fee).

Bellingen Council’s director of environment Charlie Hannavy said given the current knowledge of the system, connecting all properties to the sewer was the only way to guarantee a permanent fix.

“The report examined the soil profiles and water tables for the island after residents had done remedial work on their septic systems,” Mr Hannavy said.

“And the assessment was they were still a potential source of norovirus in the Kalang River,” Mr Hannavy said.

“Unfortunately connecting to the sewer is the only way people can meet the current legal obligations following this environmental assessment.”

He said at this stage nothing had been adopted by the council and residents would be receiving more information.

“We realise some people won’t be able to afford the fee up front so we are looking into a model, which offers a fixed-rate loan,” he said. “Financially it would be better to pay up-front because the one-off connection charge would be waived and people would also save on the interest.”

He said so far he had received positive feedback from residents, who saw this as a way of increasing their property value and avoiding the ongoing maintenance costs of on-site sewerage management.



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