Curb water use
BY PETER CATON
BUSINESSES in the heart of Murwillumbah have been told to restrict water use after a damaged sewer overflowed last week causing a foul stink in parts of the Main Street.
They have been asked to "minimise" water use for at least the next three weeks.
That's how long it is likely to take to fix the problem.
For the time being sewage is regularly being pumped out of the damaged sewer main and trucked away.
Dozens of businesses including cafes and licensed premises as well as some homes near the CBD on Hospital Hill are affected.
However Tweed Shire Council officers have been quick to point out to businesses, including cafes and bars that they don't have to "change any usual business practices".
And that is just as well according to operators who are perplexed by the council instruction.
"Anyone who handles food uses heaps of water," said Barry Ishmael, proprietor of the Fish Bowl alfresco cafe and takeaway.
Last week the damaged sewage pipe in Proudfoots Lane overflowed into stormwater drains, causing a foul smell to spread along drains in the main street.
Council's acting engineering chief Patrick Knight said the odour in the commercial area around the Murwillumbah Civic Centre had since been minimised.
However he added minimal interior water use in the town centre and by some residents on Hospital Hill would help reduce sewage flow in the area.
It would also decrease the council's cost in transferring the sewage.
"This does not mean that people have to cease water use or even change any usual business practices, but please be aware that any unnecessary use of water should be avoided," Mr Knight said.
"Due to the size of the repair, job materials and availability of special contractors, it is expected to be three weeks before the repair will be undertaken."