From the Newsroom

When the Independent visited the site on Friday August 20, water was flowing from beneath this holding pond (the black square on Google maps) – the top of which is about three metres above the surrounding land – into the adjacent drain (pictured) that connects with the open drain on North Street. Image Geoff Helisma

EPA: seepage at STP is safe

Geoff Helisma|

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has assured the Independent that there is no problem with the seepage entering a drain from beneath a pond (pictured), which is part of Clarence Valley Council’s North Grafton Sewage Treatment Plant (STP).

“The EPA has confirmed with CVC that the ponds are lined, which will minimise the potential for any leakage,” a response from EPA’s public affairs section stated.

However, the EPA did not directly address the Independent’s enquiry, which stated that the seepage was “entering a drain, which transverses the private property that encircles the CVC-owned ponds, and discharges into an open drain (North Street) that is directly connected to the Clarence River”, and asked: Have [previous] tests on this seepage been conducted? Please advise of the outcomes.

The rest of the EPA’s response stated, “The ponds store tertiary treated effluent prior to its discharge to the river, meaning the effluent is highly treated and presents very little risk to the environment.

“The main pond is currently in the process of being decommissioned, with all of the effluent to be removed.

“The areas shown in the photograph are very low lying and hold water naturally.”

Under its licence for the STP, CVC is bound to commence decommissioning of the pond and reconstruction of the STP by December 31, 2025, and to complete the work “no later than December 31, 2027”.

Meanwhile, CVC’s water cycle manager, Greg Mashiah, said, “If requested by the EPA the council is happy to undertake any testing requested.”

All test data for the pond and STP are available on CVC’s website on its ‘Environmental monitoring data’ page, as is the STP’s Pollution Incident Response Management Plan.

When the Independent visited the site on Friday August 20, water was flowing from beneath this holding pond (the black square on Google maps) – the top of which is about three metres above the surrounding land – into the adjacent drain (pictured) that connects with the open drain on North Street. Image Geoff Helisma
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