Local News

Calls for rethink of deep ocean outfall planned for Far South Coast

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Haycock Point, south of Pambula. Bega Valley Council is being asked to reconsider a deep ocean outfall off the Sapphire Coast. Image courtesy NPWS. 

Bega Valley Shire Council is being asked to rethink its plans to construct a deep ocean sewage outfall as part of its $30 million upgrade to the Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant. 

Concerned residents from the Far South Coast community say the effluent is a resource that can be harnessed on land, rather than polluting the pristine waterways of the Sapphire Coast. 

Spokeswoman Marianne Kambouridis says Byron Shire is now reusing 100 per cent of its effluent. "In particular they have this wetland area that soaks up 400 mega-litres a year of treated effluent. The wetland is like a huge sponge that absorbs all the nutrients, whether they are toxic or otherwise.

"They've also used plantations in the form of melaleuca trees, or bamboo, to soak up this effluent, and their next project is, which is quite clever, they're approaching the business sector and hoping to have toilets flushing from treated effluent as well."

Currently sewage from Merimbula and Pambula is treated at the Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant, and while a portion of the effluent is used for irrigation at the Pambula Merimbula Golf Course and nearby farming land, much of the effluent is disposed of via existing dunal exfiltration ponds at the Merimbula Sewage Treatment Plant and a beach outfall in the middle of Merimbula Beach.