One of the sparge box covers which were crushed by a truck shortly after being installed at Coramba.
One of the sparge box covers which were crushed by a truck shortly after being installed at Coramba. Contributed

Sparge boxes badly damaged

CORAMBA’S brand-new air sparging system has already taken a hit, with four of the six sparge valve box covers destroyed by a truck which drove over the location this week.

Coffs Harbour City Council’s manager of strategy and sustainability Jeff Green said they thought one of the vehicles which drove over the boxes was a contractor engaged to pump out the riverside sump for the council, but it appeared that more than one vehicle had caused damage.

He said the plastic boxes, which are designed to be buried in the ground with only the lid above the surface, were not sturdy enough and they were in negotiations with the contractor, WSP Environmental, to have them replaced.

Mr Green said the valve boxes had been filled with gravel and the damage did not affect the operation of the valves.

Coffs Harbour Council is also in dispute with WSP Environmental about noise attenuation matters to do with the air sparging system.

Mr Green said a tentative date of September 19 had been set for a meeting of the Coramba Interagency Working Party, which has not met for about 18 months, but an agenda for the meeting had not yet been compiled.

There is a revival of community concern in Coramba about the smell of petrol being experienced near the Orara River and the slow progress of work on completing the sparging system, which is designed to draw out and clean the petrol which has contaminated ground water under the village.

Long-term Coramba resident Brian Adam, who lives close to the river, is the latest resident to take up the cudgels on behalf of the village.

He has compiled and distributed a pictorial history of the popular riverside rest area, which has been officially banned as a swimming spot since petrol was first detected leaking from the river bank in 2002.

Mr Adam wants not just a solution to the petrol contamination but restoration of the riverbank to its natural condition as a gravel shoal and an extension of the pedestrian footbridge over the Orara River to overcome the washaways which damage the approaches every time the river floods.

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