Confusion over chemical fears now defused
A PLANE flying low over Murwillumbah releasing what looked like chemicals has aroused suspicions but the operator insists there's no cause for alarm.
Tweed resident Mark Abriel was worried the plane had been spraying chemicals over the Riva Vue housing estate when he spotted it airborne early on the morning of December 29.
The 24.5 hectare estate is at the border of the town's urban sprawl and in close proximity to farming land.
Mr Abriel said he has lived in the area for the past year and this was the first time he had noticed a plane flying in the immediate vicinity.
He filmed the aircraft at work because he was concerned it was mistakenly dumping chemicals over houses.
But the owner of the aviation company has dismissed the claims and said the aircraft operator was simply releasing fertiliser on cane fields.
"It wasn't spraying, it was dropping," said Greyden Tapp, of Murwillumbah's Tapp Aviation.
Mr Tapp has been performing similar jobs across the region since the 1970s and said he has never had problems with regulators regarding his contracts. He believed the man's location on the hilltop caused his view to be distorted and mistake the whereabouts of the plane.
"It's a fertiliser (what it was dropping), and the property is west of the estate," Mr Tapp said.
The owner of the Quarry Rd-based company, which provides aerial agricultural services, said the plane was distributing a solid granular nitrogen fertiliser.
He said this sort of work was usually undertaken earlier in the day when weather conditions were the most ideal.
Tweed Shire Council has an aerial spraying program to manage problems such as mosquitoes but it was usually only needed in coastal areas.
The council indicated it was not involved in the Murwillumbah matter.