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Council brings in the heavies for dam cleaning

Backhoes clean sediment from a 100 megalitre reservoir off Rushforth Road, South Grafton. Image: Contributed.

Sick of your weekly house cleaning? Finding it difficult to find the motivation to clean the pool?
Then spare a thought for some of Clarence Valley Council’s water cycle staff who, last week cleaned out the 100 megalitre water reservoir off Rushforth Road in South Grafton. To give that some perspective, that’s about 40 times the size of an Olympic swimming pool.
The reservoir is the largest of three on the site and is cleaned about every five years to reduce silt build up. The silt enters the reservoir because at this point the water is essentially untreated, and the silt needs to be removed from time to time to maintain water quality.
Staff started emptying the facility through normal consumption the previous weekend and took it offline on Tuesday so cleaning could start.
As the remaining water was drained from the reservoir staff hosed any sediment off the walls so it could be collected at the bottom. Once all the water was drained, staff used timber blades attached to two backhoes to push residue sediment into areas where it could be collected and removed from the reservoir.
This reservoir is about 100 megalitres, the next is about 32 megalitres and the third is about two megalitres. Water is initially stored in the larger reservoir where sediment is allowed to settle out before it is transferred to the 32 megalitres reservoir where it is treated for distribution through the Clarence Valley.
The two megalitre reservoir was built in about 1915 and serviced only the Grafton city area. It is no longer used.
The 100 megalitre reservoir is now being refilled.